ARInvasives.org is run by the Arkansas Forest Resources Center (AFRC), which is part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
The AFRC says invasive pests cost the U.S. an estimated $130 billion in damage and preventative measures every year, and information is the best defense.
Invasive pests are on the move across the U.S. and in Arkansas. The website introduces Arkansans to some pests that have the potential to invade our forests and threaten our native species, as well as some of the forest invasive pests that are already in our forests.
Examples of destructive invasives already in Arkansas include the red imported fire ant and kudzu.
Click here to see the full list.
Invasive pests have always been around but they've only recently been recognized as a problem. Most of Arkansas's established invasive pests were brought here on purpose, some as potential crop plants and many as ornamental plants.
Many of them are so widespread now that we have little chance of ever exterminating them. To compound the problem, many of them are still being spread by use as ornamental plants, says the AFRC.
"We have two primary goals with this web site," says Jon Barry, an extension forester for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. "First, we want to make people more aware of the problems caused by invasive pests. That $130 billion a year estimate is growing as old pests spread and new pests arrive."
Managing these destructive pests of our forests starts with being able to identify them, know the damage they can do, and what can be done to stop them in their tracks.
"If invasive pests bug you, use this website as a resource to learn more about them," Barry says.
The second goal for the website "is to recruit and train qualified people who can serve as an early warning system for invasive pests in Arkansas," he says. "If you work in the fields and forests of Arkansas and would like to serve as a field spotter, please watch this web site for announcements about training opportunities. Arkansas needs you".
ARInvasives.org is focused on six forest invasive pests that may threaten Arkansas in the future, but also includes information about invasive pests already in Arkansas.
"We will be continually updating the website and adding new information and new invasive pests, so drop by often and see what is new," says Barry.
Click here to report a sighting of an invasive pest in Arkansas.