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 5: The economics of an invading species: a theoretical model and case study application

Duncan Knowler and Edward B. Barbier

Subjects: environment, ecological economics


Duncan Knowler and Edward B. Barbier 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter is concerned with the economics of an invading species, when there is interspecific competition between the invader and a resident species in the pre-existing, or ‘host’ ecosystem. Although it is possible for an invading species to yield economic benefits once it is established, our main concern is the more common occurrence where the invader becomes a ‘pest’, that is, with negative economic effects once it is established. In particular, we are interested in those negative impacts that arise from interspecific competition between the invader and an economically valuable resident species. Although all potential invaders appear to have a small probability of becoming pests, the economic impacts of such pests are likely to be large, and will often involve some negative effect on one or more resident species. As Williamson (1996) notes, the ‘tens’ rule of thumb of biological invasions suggests that only 10 per cent of introduced, non-captive (that is, casual or feral) species will become established in a host environment, and that only 10 per cent of established invaders will become pests. However, the ultimate economic damage caused by invading pests can be extremely large. A recent estimate for the United States indicates that the cumulative losses from those harmful, non-indigenous species analysed amounts to almost $100 billion (OTA, 1993, quoted in Williamson, 1996). Moreover, this cost appears to be rising each year. Determining exactly how much of this damage is due to interspecific interaction...

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