Reviewed by Richard Lord
High School Biology Teacher
Invasive species move into new areas, often accidentally, and grow rapidly, damaging the environment. In the United States alone, damage from invasive species is estimated at $12.6 billion each year. The success of these species may be due to having no natural enemies or being so well–adapted to the new environment that they compete successfully with native populations.
Species can invade through natural processes such as movement of water and wind which carry plant seeds or, in the case of animals, by walking, flying, and swimming. Human activity has also been responsible for the spread of numerous species. Several well–known invasive species including kudzu, Eurasian milfoil, cane toad, emerald ash borer, water hyacinth, and Asian carp, are described in some detail in the book. Some invasive species actually breed with native species, causing the native populations to become more like the invaders. Scientists and government agencies use a variety of methods to attempt to limit the invaders. Among the techniques used are border security, barriers, predators, chemicals, bounties and, of course, education.
This book is part of the series Sci–Hi: Science Issues, each of which considers a timely and potentially controversial topic. At the bottom of the front cover of each 48–page book is a question that grabs student interest in the book’s subject matter. The books consider the pros and cons of the subjects in an easy–to–read and visually appealing format. Appropriate examples and short case studies are included, along with recent statistical information when needed. Words in bold print are defined in the glossary and underlined text is used occasionally for important information and defining terms.
The books contain numerous sidebars, charts, and tables that offer interesting facts, related information, biographical vignettes, and thought–provoking quotes. Carefully selected, attention–getting illustrations and attractive, colorful layouts add to the appeal of the series. Additional useful features include conclusions and summaries of major points, career ideas, timelines, and discussion questions. Besides the glossary, there are also lists of print and web resources, topics and suggestions for further research, and an index. These books would be appropriate in a classroom library, providing information for discussions, reports, debates, and special projects. They would be especially useful resources at the middle school level and as good starting points for high school level activities.
Review posted on 7/10/2012