The sycamore is an invasive species and causes many ecological problems due to its fast growth rate, adaptability and high levels of seed production. Areas which this species has invaded suffer from reduced biodiversity, damaged ecological processes and an altered ecosystem composition (5).
The dense shade created by the large canopy of the plants prevents light from reaching the ground (3) (7), which prevents any other plants from growing nearby (3). In Madeira, the invasion of the sycamore is responsible for the reduced population size of a rare, endemic orchid (5), and it has the ability to completely displace native tree species from woodlands. The sycamore is highly adaptable and colonises new areas with ease (3). The seeds of the sycamore can remain viable for long periods of time until environmental conditions favour their growth (5).
The sycamore is also damaging to fauna in introduced areas as they are not able to support as many herbivorous insects as native trees, which can reduce the overall biodiversity of the habitat (3).
The extremely slippery leaves of the sycamore cause many disruptions on railways and other transport networks (7).