Exotic vs Invasive species
Exotic and invasive species have not been well understood even by some of the science graduates due to the lack of scientific acumen. Unless the definitions of these terms are not sorted out correctly, the actual meaning would not be easy to understand, especially when there are two species with one being an exotic and the other being an invasive. The main reason for this confusion is that both invasive and exotic species are involved in living outside the natural distribution range. This article aims to emphasize the important difference between invasive and exotic species.
Exotic species could be defined as any organism that happens to live outside its natural distribution range as a consequence of anthropogenic activity, or activities through deliberate or accidental introduction to a new habitat. The primary understanding about an exotic species is that, it is a non-native or non-indigenous in its new location. They are also known as alien species, as some authors refer. An exotic species could be a plant, an animal, or a bacterium. Since it is related with the distribution range of a particular species, an exotic species to one place would not be exotic to another. In fact, a native species of one particular habitat could become an exotic species in another. However, there are many ways of occurring exotic species in a particular area, ecosystem, or habitat; deliberate introduction could take place as a mean for agricultural or livestock production and controlling pest or nuisance species. Alien species are capable of successfully competing for the natural resources with the native species mostly due the lack of natural predators in the new habitat, and they could become invasive if the reproduction could take place. There are situations in which the biodiversity and bio-productivity have increased after introducing of exotic species into natural habitats; the introduction of some exotic plant species in New Zealand from North America has been beneficial for the vegetation and biodiversity of the particular habitat. However, in many places of the world, the exotic species have not been friendly with the environment and cause to become invasive.
Invasive species have been one of the major problems for the environment, ecology, and economy of many places. According to the definition, an exotic species becomes invasive when the population starts to increase through reproduction that happens because there are no natural enemies in the new habitat. It is a serial process of becoming invasive from exotic, involving few steps starting from the introduction, survival, reproduction, thriving, and invading. After an exotic species is being introduced into a new habitat deliberately or accidentally, the already existing occupied ecological niches might prey upon it. If the exotic species could survive, the ability to compete for resources and the possibility for production to take place would start to matter them. Usually, the introduced species are greatly capable of successfully compete over others, as there are no natural competitors and enemies. When they can start to breed, the population grows without breaks. Therefore, they start to thrive and become dominant with the invasion of the environment. That can cause many problems to the naturally evolved ecosystems, as the natural species face food spatial crises. The ecosystem loses the delicate balance of energy flow after that, and it can lead to detrimental effects. These consequences could cause the agriculture and other human related activities also to go down. Therefore, the exotic species should be seriously considered prior to introduction, as the consequences may be serious.
What is the difference between Exotic and Invasive species?
• Both are non-native species occurring in a particular area, but exotic species may or may not raise concerns, while invasive species always raise serious concerns on many aspects.
• Exotic species could be either wild or captive, while they would become invasive in wild.
• Exotic species may or may not have natural competitors and enemies, whereas invasive species do not have any danger of such barriers.