Jersey, October 19, 2004 (ENS): New Jersey
is prohibiting the planting of non-native species on
state lands, and the Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) has issued an advisory list of 20 tree species,
40 shrub species, 15 vine species, 66 herb species,
and 16 grass and sedge species that are no longer welcome
on public lands in New Jersey.
The list contains just a fraction of the more than 1,200
nonindigenous plants in New Jersey that have been introduced,
accidentally or intentionally, mostly from Europe and
Asia. Because these tend to have few natural predators
or parasites on this continent, they are aggressive
competitors for space and nutrients in New Jersey's
The new policy is intended to reduce the spread of
these invasive species that choke out New Jersey's natural
plants and threaten wetlands and waterways, said DEP
Commissioner Bradley Campbell, announcing the directive
"State agencies need to lead by example and stop
planting invasive species on lands that we manage,"
said Campbell. "This is a small, but important
step in our long-term struggle to address this significant
threat to New Jersey's rich natural heritage."
Invasive species also threaten New Jersey's agricultural
resources through lost production and marketability
for agricultural products.
Campbell is ordering DEP employees, consultants and
contractors not to use invasive, nonindigenous plant
species in planning and implementing plantings, landscaping
and land management activities such as habitat restoration
and reforestation on state lands and waters.
In July 2003, the Final Report of the New Jersey Comparative
Risk Project identified invasive species, including
plants, insects and other organisms, as one of the top
four environmental problems facing New Jersey.
Some of these species cause harm by contributing to
species extinctions, altering the structure of natural
plant communities, disrupting ecosystem functions, and
degrading recreational opportunities.
Harmful invasive plants are spoiling open spaces such
as Island Beach State Park, Rancocas State Park, and
the Black River Natural Area, said Campbell.
Invasive species often form dense stands or thickets
that crowd out native vegetation. Harmful invasive species
not only threaten plant biodiversity but also affect
wildlife that depend on the displaced native species
Invasive species are now recognized as a threat to
the health of biodiversity throughout the nation and
the resulting ecological damage is costing millions
of dollars in economic losses each year.
Earlier this year, Governor James McGreevey signed
an executive order forming an Invasive Species Council
charged with submitting an Invasive Species Management
Plan for the state in 2005.
A report entitled An Overview of Nonindigenous Plant
Species in New Jersey is available on the DEP's website