Invasive Species Overview
Background Information for Users
For the purposes of this document, the term "invasive species" refers specifically to plant species that
are non-native to a given ecosystem, and whose introduction and proliferation causes harm to the economy,
the environment, or to human health.
Detection, forecasting and management of invasive species is a growing responsibility among Federal land
management agencies. Federal government agencies are active in several aspects of invasive species
management: prevention, early detection, control/management, research/monitoring, and education/outreach.
While Federal agencies will spend some $250 million in FY 2004 on various aspects of invasive species
management, it is estimated that the total damage incurred by invasive species in the U.S. approaches $100
billion per year. To efficiently allocate these monies to mitigate effects of invasive species, improved
decision support tools are needed for prioritization and management of control efforts.
Executive Order 13112 (1999) established a framework for Federal efforts addressing biotic invasions.
Pursuant to this Order, a National Invasive Species
Council was formed with the U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture, Interior, and Commerce serving as Co-Chairs.
The Council published an Invasive Species Management Plan (2001) that defined several major thrusts for
invasive species (IS) management.
The NASA Earth Science Enterprise Applications Division has been uniquely chartered to confer technological
advances in remote sensing to federal agencies in need of improved decision making tools. A 2003
agreement between NASA and USDA provided an opportunity to strengthen the process whereby earth science
data and models were harnessed to improve invasive vegetation mapping and quantify effects on native
The Invasive Species Viewer is intended to enhance the ability of community stakeholders to work
cooperatively through enhanced coordination, integration, and dissemination of data and information. The
viewer contains digital imagery from NASA’s earth observation satellites and from commercial sources. GIS
layers for political features, physical features, and soils are provided. Also available are field data
collected at intensive study sites, and landscape-level ecosystem process simulations. Users can customize
the map views, overlay multiple data layers, print images, and obtain data values from map data layers in
tabular format. Users can navigate within an image, pan, zoom in and out, identify features, and perform
advanced query functions and basic geo-spatial analysis of any and all available data layers.