ELI’s Invasive Species Program

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 produces high-quality, independent research and programs to help governments and stakeholders apply cutting-edge scientific and policy information to invasive species problems.

Featured Activities:
  • Invasive Species Policy Seminars: ELI's invasive species seminars focus on emerging invasive species policy issues and highlight different approaches to effectively resolving crucial issues in invasive species management. Our seminars feature 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 provided focused, nuanced evaluations of specific state and federal laws and programs, including for forest pests, weeds, aquatic invasive species, and animals.

  • Bioenergy and Invasion: Many characteristics desired in bioenergy feedstocks are also associated with heightened invasion risk. ELI research shows how Weed Risk Assessment tools are 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: Climate change will deeply affect invasive species management through habitat fragmentation, shifting temperature regimes, opening up new invasion pathways, and other mechanisms. ELI studies these interactions and works to support consideration of climate in aquatic invasive species management.