Plants and animals from all over the world arrive in South Florida’s ports every day. Some of these nonnative species escape from their cages, aquariums, or garden beds into the wild. Some are intentionally released. Some take well to the subtropical climate and rapidly increase and expand their populations. We call these species invasive when they hurt the environment, the economy, and/or human health. Hundreds of invasive species now call South Florida home, harming our agricultural and tourism industries, our native plants and animals, and our quality of life. Invasive species complicate and slow down restoration of America's Everglades ecosystem. Governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and universities are working together to address this growing problem within the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area.
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Native species are animals and plants that live in an area naturally, without any human intervention.
Nonnative (exotic, alien) species are animals and plants living outside their native ranges as a result of human activity.
Invasive species are nonnative plants or animals that cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health.