Invasive Plants

Photo by MAFF:  Dalmatian Toadflax (Linaria dalmatica)

Invasive plants are typically introduced to British Columbia through human activities. Generally these species originate from Europe and Asia. These invasive plants lack natural predators and pathogens that would otherwise keep their populations in check. A common characteristic of all invasive plants is their aggressive, competitive behaviour. In general, they out compete native plants for moisture, nutrients, and sunlight. In wetlands invasive plants can rob waterfowl and mammals of their food sources, nesting areas, and access to water which they need for protection from predators. Invasive plants often establish themselves in soils disturbed from development of roads, utility lines, trails, commercial recreation sites, agriculture, etc. Wildlife, livestock, machinery, recreational vehicles, people, wind, and water transport seeds from existing invasive plant infestations to new sites. Once established, invasive plants have a tremendous capacity to invade adjacent, undisturbed natural plant communities displace wildlife and disrupt natural ecosystem functions.

Photo by MAFF: Tansy Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)

The Ecosystems Section of ESD, Okanagan Region has developed and implemented an Invasive Plant Strategy, which assists in invasive plant identification as well as management practices within provincial parks and protected areas. This strategy incorporates an integrated and collaborative approach including early detection. Early detection allows the opportunities for eradication of these new outbreaks. In addition to early response to new invasive plants, efforts to manage and contain existing, large-scale infestations remain a priority. Successful long-term management of invasive plants relies on an integrated approach. This entails a combination of biological, chemical, and mechanical control methods. Integrated invasive plant management and improved overall land management is the key to reducing the threats of invasive plants.

Photo by MAFF: Sulphur Cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)

As land managers, the Ministry of Environment is responsible for maintaining biodiversity, while maintaining healthy ecosystems for native plant and animal species, in parks and protected areas. To accomplish this, a key component is public education in the identification of invasive plant, their biology, their impacts and treatment options. Ensuring biological diversity, and a balanced ecosystem for the enjoyment of future generations, requires the diligent effort of all agencies, stakeholders, and the public.

Invasive Plant Alert  (PDF 160KB)