In Virginia, invasive species cost the state approximately $1 billion annually due to forest loss and crop damage (Pimentel et al. 2005). There are approximately 38 invasive species and suffer as a result, which affects biodiversity (Tausch 2008). Invasive species alter the balance of ecosystems, reducing biodiversity and ecosystem health (Gamfeldt et al. 2008). Climate change is another driver in the success of invasive species as they are better adapted to withstand climate changes over native species (Duke and Mooney 1999). To combat invasive species in Virginia this recommendation proposes the establishment of early detection and rapid response Invasive Management Teams (IMTs). IMTs will be responsible for locating, assessing, monitoring, and removing invasive species acoss the state. IMTs will be lead by qualified invasive species individuals from the Virginia Invasive Species Working Group. IMTs will be under the advisement of the Virginia Invasive Species Working Council with operations overseen by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and collaboration from other state and federal governmental agencies. Funding for the taskforce will stem from the current state and federal governmental funding for invasive species (NISC 2014). Virginia needs a stronger initiative to combat invasive species and protect its unique biodiversity.

Poster session for the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar.

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Poster Session

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