International travel is changing biodiversity

Erin Brodwin says along with international travellers often travel dozens of tiny hitchhikers – foreign plants, insects, and sometimes other animals too.  Source:

GR:  Before plants and animals can invade a habitat and become problems, they must reach the habitat.  Potentially invasive species are no threat if they stay home.  For centuries, we have been spreading plants and animals around the globe, and some of them have invaded the new habitats. Human sailing ships that began crossing the oceans 500 years ago gave a tremendous boost to natural plant and animal dispersal.  Though some plant seeds can blow or float across the oceans, most cannot.  Many, however, can stow away in cargo and on ship hulls.  Regular human travel across deserts and through the jungles began even earlier.  A friend once counted the plant seeds in car-wash drains and found more than 400 species.  Human assisted dispersal is continuing and after global warming and habitat destruction, is the most critical impact that humans have on natural ecosystems.  If Elon Musk and Pope Francis can convince our leaders to solve the global warming crisis, we can turn our attention to other critical issues including population and pollution.  Learn more about invasive plants (


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