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Biological invasions as global environmental change
- Vitousek, P.M., D'Antonio, C.M., Loope, L.L., Westbrooks, R.
- American scientist 1996 v.84 no.5 pp. 468-478
- invasive species, introduced species, ecological balance, species diversity, ecosystems, environmental impact, environmental protection
- The authors suggest that biological invasions of non-native species, for example the zebra mussel, have become so widespread as to constitute a significant component of global environmental change. They list a number of nonnative species that have invaded US National Parks in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and describe the damage caused by these invasions. Consequences of invasions throughout the world are then described, including: their acting as vectors of disease; the economic damage they can cause; their altering of ecosystem processes; the reduction of biological diversity; and the promotion of extinctions in other species. Finally, the authors discuss what measures need to be taken in order to attempt to control invasions in the future.