An invasive species is a scientific term used to describe when something is growing or living where it doesnâ€™t naturally belong. When invasive plants show up in places they donâ€™t belong, they can cause other important plant species to die, by blocking their access to sunlight and water.
Animals can also have an effect on the speed at which invasive plants spread. Herbivores (animals and organisms that eat plants) donâ€™t like feeding on invasive plants. With fewer animals eating them, invasive plant populations can spread really quickly.
Why Invasive plants and badgers just donâ€™t get along
The type of invasive species growing in any given area has a real impact on what animals it attracts, which can spell trouble for predators like badgers. You see, American badgers like lots of variety in their diet, which means they like to hunt many different types of prey.
The problem is that badgers live in old agricultural fields, which are often crowded with invasive plants, shrubs and trees. Some examples of invasive species that are taking over badger habitat in Ontario are shrubs like the Autumn olive, Common buckthorn, and Mutifloral rose. Because these fields donâ€™t have the same original variety of plants to attract lots of animals, American badgers have fewer animals to hunt.
New research also shows that some invading plants can cause the soil to change, which creates another problem for the American badgers. They like their ground to be well drained because itâ€™s perfect for digging a burrow. Changes to the soil by invasive plants can make it more difficult for badgers to make a home in the ground.
Help us get rid of those invaders!
Weâ€™re teaming up with Earth Rangers just like you to protect the American badger. Earth Rangersâ€™ Bring Back the Wildâ„˘ campaigns will support research that will help us better understand how American badger populations are being affected by changes to their habitat.
These campaigns will also help the Nature Conservancy of Canada remove invasive species that have taken over the badgerâ€™s territory in the Lake Erie region.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is working to restore an area that was once used for agriculture, turning it into a perfect home for American badgers. In 2006/2007 a mixture of 70 species of native grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees were planted. In late August and September of 2012 invasive species like Autumn olive and Multifloral rose were removed from the 54-hectare site. This habitat improvement project is making a real difference for American badger populations and itâ€™s also creating homes for snakes, birds, and other mammals.
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