Because of the climate in the Smoky Mountains, many non-native plant and animal species thrive, although they are usually found in Asia or Europe. Kudzu, garlic mustard, and mimosa are the most invasive plant species. Two problematic insects are destroying trees and impacting both the ecosystem
and scenery: the Hemlock and Balsam Woolly Adelgids. The Balsam Woolly Adelgid is of European origin but the Fraser Fir trees in the Smokies have no defense against it. The insect cuts off the supply of nutrients to the tree, causing the needles to fall off and the eventual death of the tree. The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, brought from Asia, works the same way but feeds on Hemlock trees. One other non-native species might help control the Adelgids. The National Park has introduced a beetle that feeds exclusive on these insects but it will still take years to produce noticeable results. With the help of beetles and tree vaccines, the Smokies might return to scenic
glory. This only scratches the surface of the abundant wildlife found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Repeat visitors to the Park will begin to look beyond the scenery and historic significance to the beautiful complexity that makes the Smokies such a popular destination in America.