According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, invasive alien species are species whose introduction and/or spread outside their natural past or present distribution threatens biological diversity.
In other words, a species is considered to be invasive if it eliminates and replaces native species, and harms surrounding ecosystems.
Invasive alien species:
- threaten human health and safety
- harm natural ecosystems
- reduce forest productivity and regrowth
- disrupt agriculture
- hinder recreational activities
These species can be introduced through the following activities:
- recreational activities
- gardening and agricultural activities
- recreational boating
What we’re doing to fight invasive alien species
Learn more about the NCC’s recent projects related to the management of invasive alien plants on its lands.
What you can do
You can help support our efforts by doing the following.
Stay on official trails
The use of unofficial trails denudes the ground of vegetation, and disturbs native plants growing nearby. Once the environment is degraded, it becomes more vulnerable to the introduction of invasive species. There is also the risk that people using unofficial trails may transport the seeds of invasive species, which then colonize these areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Also, when people venture off the official trails, there is a risk of coming into contact with plants that can be harmful to human health. Use only official trails, and keep dogs on leash at all times, in those places where dogs are allowed.
Inspect and clean your personal effects
When you visit an at-risk area, inspect your clothing, pets, vehicle and equipment, and remove any mud, seeds and plant material, before leaving the area.
Adopt eco-friendly gardening practices
Some invasive garden plants can cause serious problems when they are planted close to natural environments, as they tend to spread and take over the surrounding native vegetation. In addition, yard waste can also contain seeds, and parts of the plants or the fruits of invasive plants. Disposing of yard waste close to natural environments can present a threat to native vegetation.
The guide Grow Me Instead suggests ecological practices to reduce the risk of introducing harmful plants in your garden. These practices include selecting native plants and managing invasive species on your property.
Report your sightings
You can help support the NCC’s efforts by reporting the presence of invasive alien plants. The applications EDDMapS (Ontario) and Sentinelle (Quebec, French only) are tools that can be used to identify invasive alien species. With these applications, you can report your sightings of invasive plants, and inform the public and property owners about their presence.
Taking it further
The following resources provide more information about invasive plants, and what you can do to prevent their introduction.
- Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness program provides fact sheets about invasive species to help prevent their introduction.
- The Ontario Invasive Plant Council leads a campaign called Look before you leave, which is targeted to outdoor enthusiasts.
- The Government of Quebec provides a French-only poster checklist for recreational boaters (protocole de vérification des embarcations de plaisance).
- The Conseil québécois des espèces exotiques envahissantes (Quebec’s council on invasive alien species) has published a French-only guide on preventing the introduction of invasive species in aquatic environments (guide de bonnes pratiques pour prévenir l’introduction d’espèces envahissantes dans les milieux aquatiques).
- Quebec’s Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques has produced a series of tips to avoid introducing and propagating invasive alien species (Conseils pour éviter d’introduire et de propager des espèces exotiques envahissantes).
- The Government of Ontario has also published simple and easy-to-follow action plans to help restrict the introduction of invasive species when undertaking common activities: Anglers action plan, Boaters action plan, Cottagers action plan, Hikers action plan, Gardeners action plan.