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Per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) an invasive species is defined as:

  • non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration

  • whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or
    environmental harm or harm to human health

Corn in the Midwest, USA (often referred to as the Corn Belt) would seem to satisfy the first requirement as an invasive species as it is not native to this area. Regarding the second requirement, it could be argued that corn in the Midwest causes environmental harm because it is in place of many indigenous plants that many other animals rely on to survive. For example, habitat loss is considered a cause in the decline of the regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia) butterfly.

A Google search brought me to this Q&A site where many argued that corn is not an invasive species because it cannot survive or spread by itself without human intervention. I tend to agree with this logic but it does not seem to be within the scope of the USDA definition.

Should corn be considered an invasive species in the Midwest?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close as opinion-based, because there isn't really any biology in this question. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Mar 11 '18 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ A q for sustainability? $\endgroup$ – Graham Chiu Mar 11 '18 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ You answered your own question. It does not survive in the wild. Corn IS native to the ecosystem in which it exists, which is an agricultural corn monoculture. $\endgroup$ – Karl Kjer Mar 11 '18 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Karl Kjer. What seemed to be confusing me is that the agricultural corn monoculture ecosystem is not the native, predominately tall grass prairie, ecosystem for this area. After reviewing the first part of the definition I do see it says non-native to the ecosystem under consideration (not the native ecosystem) which would mean it's not an invasive species to the Midwest. Thank you for the explanation. $\endgroup$ – wanderweeer Mar 11 '18 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ This list does not exist to consider USDA directives or semantics. Please someone else vote to close this. $\endgroup$ – David Nov 27 '18 at 20:23
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Should corn be considered an invasive species in the Midwest?

I agree with commenter Bryan Krause in that this question requires opinion -- but I think it only requires opinion as to the definition of what we consider "invasive".

The concept of an "invasive" species is highly contested among biologists. It is often used interchangeably with the terms non-native, non-indigenous, and alien.

Some people think we should consider a species as 'invasive' even if it is native to the region but is causing "economic or environmental harm or harm to human health". For example, the USDA considers Juniperus virginia a native species, despite its spread from plantings and its economic and ecological impacts in 'invaded' regions.

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