The Economics of Biological Invasions

The Economics of Biological Invasions

Edited by Charles Perrings, Mark Williamson and Silvana Dalmazzone

The growth of international trade and travel means that more species are being introduced to more places than ever before. This book represents the first concerted effort to understand the economic causes and consequences of biological invasions. The volume discusses the theoretical and methodological issues raised by invasion, including control strategies, modelling options, and a study of the economic, institutional and policy conditions that predispose countries to biological invasions. Also included are case studies of fisheries, agricultural systems, tropical forests and protected areas affected by invasive species in locations such as the Black Sea, Australia and Africa, and an evaluation of control programmes.

Chapter 2: Economic factors affecting vulnerability to biological invasions

Silvana Dalmazzone

Subjects: environment, ecological economics


Silvana Dalmazzone* 1 INTRODUCTION The contribution of human activities to biological invasions is generally acknowledged. The movement of people and goods is usually taken to be the main driver of the process. Even though, from the very early stages of agriculture, crops and animals have been intentionally transported from one region of the world to another, the rate of species introduction by humans has increased sharply in recent years. Figure 2.1 presents two estimated trends in the establishment of alien plant species in California over the last 300 years. Since its colonization by Europeans there has been an exponential increase in established aliens. Available data would be consistent with both an exponential and a logistic regression, should there be an inflection point above the data. Increasing trends may be seen in many other countries. It has been claimed (Lövei, 1997; Vitousek et al., 1997; Mooney, 1999; and others) that the introduction of alien species is a significant component of human-induced global change, and one of the most serious threats to biodiversity. The unprecedented mobility of people and commodities brought about by the globalization of the world economy is progressively breaking down the genetic isolation of communities of co-evolving species of plants and animals. Such isolation has been essential for the evolution and maintenance of the Earth’s biological diversity (Clout et al., 1996). If this view is correct it follows that invasions may be among the most significant external effects of market activities.1 This chapter considers whether...

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