Native Species Law & Legal Definition


A native species is one that occurs naturally with respect to a particular ecosystem, rather than as a result of an accidental or deliberate introduction into that ecosystem by humans. A species can not be considered native to a particular geographic region or habitat in the United States merely because it occurs natively somewhere within the continental United States. For example, humans may transplant U.S. species to regions outside of their native range, but which are still within the USA. For example, a California poppy growing in Alabama would be considered a non-native plant. In the U.S., non-native species are typically defined as those that arrived since the time of European contact.