ELI's Invasive Species Program works to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in the United States. Invasive species -- like quagga mussels, sudden oak death, Burmese pythons, kudzu, and Asian tiger mosquito -- cause an estimated $137 billion per year in environmental and economic harm and harm to human health. Smart state and federal laws and policies can prevent new invasions by closing off the pathways that these species use to invade. Invasive species arrive as a result of intentional importation as well as by hitching rides on ships and other vectors.
The Invasive Species Program uses independent research and high quality educational programs to help governments and stakeholders bring cutting-edge scientific and policy to bear on key policy questions.
- Invasive Species Policy Seminars: ELI hosts an ongoing series of webinars focused on emerging invasive species policy issues, co-sponsored by the National Invasive Species Council. Our seminars highlight in-depth discussion by experts from government, environmental groups, industry, and the scientific community.
- Strengthening National, Regional, and State Invasive Species Policies: ELI is the foremost authority on state invasive species law and regulation. Our 2002 report, Halting the Invasion, remains the seminal resource on effective state approaches to invasive species policy, and the associated model state law remains a key resource for policy-makers. ELI has also focused on evaluations of specific state and federal laws and programs for forest pests, weeds, aquatic invasive species, and animals. Finally, ELI provides nuanced analysis of new policy tools, such as TMDLs and financial responsibility policies, to address invasive species.
Bioenergy and Invasion: Many characteristics desired in bioenergy feedstocks are also associated with heightened invasion risk. ELI highlights how Weed Risk Assessment tools can be used to predict invasion risk from bioenergy feedstocks and how legal frameworks can use these tools to ensure that agencies and producers do not inadvertently encourage or support the introduction or spread of invasive species as a side effect of bioenergy development.
Linking Climate Change and Invasive Species Policies: Whether through habitat fragmentation, shifting temperature regimes, opening up new invasion pathways, or other mechanisms, climate change will deeply affect invasive species management. ELI studies the interactions between climate change and invasive species, and works to increase consideration of climate in aquatic invasive species management and to guide development of policies for movement of species internationally.
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