Wetlands and Invasive Species

Did you know that wetlands cover approximately 13% of the land area in Canada? Recently, wetlands have become an increasingly scarce resource in settled areas of the country, and there are many factors that threaten them. One of the main threats to wetlands are invasive species. Invasive plants and animals reduce habitat for the many species that inhibit wetlands, they outcompete native species for resources, bring new diseases to our native species and can even alter the chemical balance of wetland waters.

Some invasive species that impact our wetlands in Nova Scotia include:
• Purple Loosestrife: perennial wetland plant that was first introduced as an ornamental for gardens. It thrives in moist habitats, but also has a high tolerance to drought, which allows it to colonize a wide variety of habitats. It prefers recently disturbed areas with exposed soil and abundant sunlight. It can create dense stands with thick mats of roots that spread over large areas, outcompeting native plant species and degrading habitat for native wildlife. In some habitats, Purple Loosestrife has replaced 50% of the natural species.
• Phragmites australis (Common Reed): a very tall grass, often reaching heights of 3 m or more. It grows in wetlands and spreads quickly through its roots. It can quickly form large, dense stands that exclude native species and can alter the structure and function of native marsh ecosystems.
• Yellow Iris: perennial plant that grows in wetlands, along shorelines, in shallow ponds and ditches. It reproduces through propagation of broken pieces of rhizomes, horizontal root dispersal, and seed dispersal. The underwater horizontal root system of Yellow Iris forms thick mats which reduce water flow, crowd out native species, and dry out wetlands.

Wetlands provide many services and are recognized as particularly useful areas because:
• they absorb the impact of hydrologic events such as large waves or floods;
• they filter sediments and toxic substances;
• they supply food and essential habitat for many animal species;
• they also provide products for food, energy and building material; and
• they are valuable recreational areas for activities such as hunting and birdwatching.

There are conservation programs in place to protect our wetlands, and there are ways that you can help as well. Always Clean, Drain and Dry your boat, trailer and fishing gear before launching in a new body of water. Remember to always Play Clean Go before you enter or leave a trail by cleaning any seeds, plant matter and insects off yourself, your pet, and your gear. When planting new species in your garden, opt for native or non-invasive plants instead of invasive ones. If you see any invasive species, report your sighting here on iNaturalist, or visit https://nsinvasives.ca/report-an-invasive-species/

Publicado el septiembre 27, 2022 04:07 TARDE por jgilice1 jgilice1


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