Introduction Present-day island and continental ecosystems began evolving millions of years before the human species appeared. These ecosystems became distinct as they developed in isolation from one another, due to natural barriers between them. Within the last 150 years, however, technology has enabled humanity to easily bridge continents and reach secluded islands. As a result, modern human vectors of transport are introducing exotic species 1 into ecosystems that have evolved autonomously for millions of years. Often, these non-native, immigrant species impact wildlife and ecosystem interactions so severely that they may be thought of as deadly "pollutants." Traditionally, environmental laws have only been concerned with human management, or mismanagement, of inanimate substances. 2 Only recently have environmental laws begun to address the exotic species problem. Thus far, however, modern federal legislation enacted in response to damage caused by exotic species inadequately confronts the threat. A viable solution to encourage transporting behavior which prevents exotic introductions may be based upon common law public nuisance and strict liability. Tort liability provides more flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances than rigid statutes and allows the transporter to choose the most efficient method to avoid liability. Therefore, adaptable tort principles may represent the best means by which our most valuable resources, our ecosystems, can be protected from destructive exotic species. This Article advocates the use of liability-based principles from nuisance law to combat the tide of exotic introductions. Section I details the destructive power of some exotic species on non-native ecosystems and ...
Daniel P. Larsen,
Combatting the Exotic Species Invasion: The Role of Tort Liability,
5 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum
Available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/delpf/vol5/iss1/2