We’ve spoken before about how much trouble invasive species can cause to ecosystems. However, not all invasive species cause problems. Some non-native species prove beneficial to the new environments they’re introduced to.

A big one? Honeybees!1

Honeybees play an important role in our environment and efforts are being made to save their dwindling population numbers – but they’re not native to North America. They were brought over from Europe in the 1600s and subsequently were continually brought over about eight more times since then.2

Another iconic animal that technically isn’t native? Horses.

North American horses went extinct and the horses we know and love today were actually reintroduced much later from Spain.1

Yet another non-native species is the tamarisk tree.2

They’ve been populating quickly within the southwestern US. Originally, a lot of money was spent on getting rid of them, but then it was discovered that they didn’t take up more resources than the native trees and they provided homes for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher.2

While non-native species can be a problem and pose a threat to native species, it isn’t always the case. New discussions have popped up within the biology community around invasive species and whether or not new species should immediately be eradicated or not. Some argue that the threat of invasive species is too great, while others are more open to looking at non-native species more closely to see what threats they pose before eradicating them from an area.1,2,&3

For example, in Puerto Rico, there’s not a lot of native forest left. Much of it has given way to farming land. When trying to rebuild these forests from abandoned land, it’s very difficult to get native trees to grow and thrive. Introduced trees, like African tulip trees, can thrive in the landscape and grow to rebuild these forests. After a few decades, native trees can survive in this environment and both native and non-native trees can survive together.2

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