invasive species in the hudson highlands
An invasive species is a non-native species living in an eco-system that causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health. There are five broad categories of invasive species: fish and aquatic creatures, insects, land animals, pathogens, and plants.
The Hudson Valley now faces infestations of many different kinds of invasive species that came from South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, and Africa. Some were introduced to the area by accident in packing material, as crop contaminants, in shipping containers, or in the cargo holds of ships. In other cases, people brought invasive plants to this area, and planted them.
The Garrison School Forest contains the invasive plants black swallow-wort, Japanese Barberry, and Japanese stiltgrass, among others. The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies notes that "because swallow-worts are in the milkweed family, they are especially problematic for monarch butterflies. The plants give off cues that trick a small but significant percentage of monarch butterflies into laying their eggs on them. When the eggs hatch, larvae die within a few days."
fish & aquatic creatures
The zebra mussel has infested the Hudson River since 1991. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and the Cary Institute produced the video above, which explains the impact of the zebra mussel invasion on the Hudson River ecosystem. The AMNH and Cary Institute River Ecology project gives you access to data about the Hudson River collected by biologists since 1987. You can help the scientists investigate the effects of the zebra mussel invasion.
Learn about common aquatic invasive species living in New York State.
Invasive plants that live on land in New York State include Buckthorn, the very dangerous Giant Hog Weed, Japanese Barberry, Japanese stiltgrass, Kudzu, Mile-a-Minute Weed, and the even fruit-bearing wineberry bush.
Invasive aquatic plants in New York State include Common Reed, Hydrilla, Japanese knotweed, Purple Loosestrife, and Water Chestnut.
The Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive wood-boring beetle, feeds on and eventually kills native ash trees. The Emerald Ash Borer has infested our area. The Garrison School Forest and much of Philipstown reside inside a severe risk area identified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an invasive aphid-like insect that attacks North American Hemlock trees. It was first found in Putnam County in 1990. Woolly Adelgid killed Hemlock trees in the School Forest and in forests throughout the Hudson Highlands. This animated map shows the progression of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in New York State from 1987-2013.
Eurasian boars are a highly adaptable, destructive, non-native, invasive species living in New York State. After September 1, 2015, it is now illegal to possess, sell, distribute, trade or transport Eurasian boars in New York.
Giant African Land Snails are also prohibited in New York State. These snails, which grow to be almost eight inches long, are extremely destructive. They eat more than 500 different plants, stucco, plaster, and even paint on buildings! They also carry a parasite that can cause meningitis.
A pathogen is a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.
Three North American tree species, the American chestnut, the butternut, and the American elm were devastated by three diseases: chestnut blight, butternut canker, and Dutch elm disease.
Two pathogens, Late Blight and Plum Pox Virus, affect vegetables and fruit grown in the Hudson Valley region. A pathogen called "white nose syndrome" has killed more than 90 percent of hibernating bats in New York.