Invasive species are introduced organisms that are not native to Bermuda and that are changing or have altered the island’s environment in a negative way. Prime examples are Balloon Vine (pictured on the left), Brazil Pepper, Kiskadees, Sparrows, Oyster Shell Scale and Lionfish. Some of them have been introduced accidently (rats), others were brought in as pest control (Kiskadees, Sparrows, Marine Toads), as erosion control (Casuarina), as pets (Red-eared Slider Terrapin) or as ornamental garden plants (Morning Glory, Umbrella Tree).
Our fragile island ecosystem is extremely sensitive to the alteration inflicted by these newcomers which have easily adapted to the island and threaten our biodiversity. Most of them reproduce quickly and out-compete or predate on the original flora and fauna to the point that some native species have even become extinct, such as the Bermuda Cicada which was eradicated by the Kiskadee.
Others have changed the island landscape forever. The Cedar blight in the 1940s and 1950s was caused by two insect species hiding among the branches of introduced ornamental trees. As the insects spread across the island, 90% of the Bermuda cedar forest was destroyed and this resulted in widespread alteration of the original forest by fast growing invasive trees and shrubs.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) maintains a list of the top 100 worst invasive species in the world. Of these top 100, 23 are found in Bermuda. They include Water Hyacinth, Brazil Pepper, Kudzu, Wedelia, Cane Toad, Starling, Red-eared Slider Terrapin, domestic cat, mouse, rat and several species of ants.
The Trust recognises the threat these species are posing, and our environmental conservation team is constantly monitoring invasive species in our open spaces. We work hard to cull out invasive species and reintroduce threatened native and endemic flora and fauna to our nature reserves. We also raise awareness about this issue through our environmental education and volunteering programmes. We organise invasive plant removal sessions and native tree and shrub planting initiatives and collaborate with other organisations to control pest species.
The Trust is also a member of the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force and supports the lionfish population control and education programme.
Guide to Indigenous and Invasive Plants
The Problem with Cow Cane & Napier Grass
The Problem with Cattail in Bermuda
Garden & Woodland Management