Invasive Species in Nova Scotia


Invasive species are plants, animals and micro-organisms that have been introduced into areas beyond their native range and negatively impact the environment, the economy, or society.



It is widely accepted that invasive species are an immense threat to biodiversity worldwide. In Canada alone, more than 20% of our species at risk are threatened with extinction by invasive species. Invasive species cause harm in several ways. For example, they may eat native species, take their food and space, contribute to soil degradation and erosion, introduce new diseases, and degrade water quality and habitat. The destruction caused by invasive species also has adverse effects on human life. Invasive species can damage buildings and roads. From an economic viewpoint, invasive species greatly impact productivity and profit in forestry, agricultural, and fishing industries – as well as reducing recreational opportunities. 



Humans are largely responsible for the movement of invasive species from one area to another. Many human-assisted pathways have permitted the introduction of invasive species in Nova Scotia. Examples of these pathways include – but are certainly not limited to – horticultural trade, aquarium trade, the movement of shipping containers, ballast water tanks in cargo ships, recreational boating, and the release of species for hunting or angling purposes. Once established, invasive species can spread naturally, or be moved further by human activities such as outdoor recreation, release of pets into the environment, or movement of firewood. 

Live more sustainably 

Everyday activities often contribute to the spread of invasive species. For example, buying products from overseas requires transportation via container ships; those ships may inadvertently transport invasive species to Nova Scotia. Buying local products and reducing your overall ecological footprint not only helps to reduce habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, and overexploitation of natural resources – it is also fundamental for the prevention of invasive species introductions across the globe. 

Learn more about the various invasive species in Nova Scotia

Learn more about the various invasive species in Nova Scotia

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Rosa multiflora | Common names: Multiflower Rose, Rambler Rose Description Multiflora Rose is a woody shrub that grows up to 3 m tall and 4 m wide. Its stem is green to red with stiff, curved thorns. Leaves are compound, with 5–11 oblong, oval leaflets with serrated edges. The upper surface

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Acer platanoides Description Norway Maple is a large deciduous tree that grows up to 18 m tall with a large crown. It has large, maple-shaped leaves, which can be green or dark red. Leaf stems have milky sap. Its flowers are greenish, and bloom in early spring. Seeds of Norway Maple

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Celastrus orbiculatus | Asian Bittersweet Description Deciduous woody vine or trailing shrub. Can reach heights of over 18 m. Leaves simple, alternate, roundish and slightly toothed. Flowers small and in clusters, with 5 petals, blooming in late spring or early summer. Berries yellow when mature, later opening up to 3 red

Fact Sheet Marine Macroalgae Codium fragile | Codium, Dead Man’s Fingers Description Green alga shaped like a small bush, velvety and spongy to the touch. Light to dark green. Branches are thick (3 to 10 mm), spongy, Y-shaped, cylindrical, and without golden yellow blisters seen in native rockweed. Up to 90 cm long. On the

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Lythrum salicaria | Other Names: Loosestrife, Spiked Loosestrife Description Stems arise from perennial rootstock. 30-50 stalks can arise from a single rootstock, but the average is between 1-15. The stalks grow between 60-120 cm, but some may reach as high as 2m. The stalks are woody, stiff, and square-shaped with 4-6

Fact Sheet Reptile Trachemys scripta elegans Description Pond Sliders have brown to olive green coloured shells, with a slight keel running down the center. Green-black stripes run along the body. Sliders are sexually dimorphic; females grow larger (up to 24 cm in length) than males (up to 11 cm in length). Red-Eared Sliders have red

Fact Sheet Grass/Sedge Phalaris arundinacea Description Reed Canary Grass is a cool season, perennial grass that grows up to 1.7 m tall. Its leaf blades are flat, 30–120 cm long, 1.9 cm wide, smooth, and taper gradually. Leaf stems are rounded, and greyish to bluish-green. Flowers/seed heads are green, purple, or brown in colour and

Fact Sheet VASCULAR PLANT Rosa rugosa Description Rugosa Rose is a dense shrub that grows up to 2.5 m tall. Its stem is robust, with abundant thorns of all sizes. Twigs are covered in fine hairs, and have 5–7 oval-shaped, toothed leaflets. Flowers are dark pink to white, 6–9 cm wide, strong-scented, and blooming in

Fact Sheet Vascular Plant Pinus sylvestris | Other Names: Scots Pine, Caledonian Pine Description Scotch Pines are large, evergreen, coniferous trees that can grow up to 25 m tall, and have an irregularly shaped crown. They have twisty needles in bundles of two, which are 4–6 cm long, blue-green, and sharp-pointed. The bark of its