How Invasive Plants are Destroying our Eco-systems

Credit: British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

“The creep of invasive alien plants across the B.C. landscape represents a disaster approaching the level of the pine beetles and last year’s forest fires,” says Cariboo regional district director and rancher Duncan Barnett.

“We must address this issue. The costs of doing nothing are just too great,” agrees Patrick Reid, chair of the Fraser Basin Council, which recently released the Invasive Plant Strategy for British Columbia (available for reading at

The costs generated by this crisis are startling, amounting to tens – perhaps even hundreds – of millions of dollars each year in lost productivity in forestry and mining, farming, utilities, government and more, says Reid. This past summer, B.C.’s Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection tossed an extra $3.3 million toward the task of fighting invasives for a total of $8 million over the coming two years, with particular emphasis planned for the sensitive Lac du Bois Grasslands area near Kamloops and the vulnerable fire-stricken regions in the Okanagan.

As home gardeners, we can contribute to this campaign against invasives by learning to pinpoint the culprits and remove them from our landscapes before they proliferate, by joining the many action groups organizing against these bullies, and by safeguarding those plants native to our province.