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 8: Invasive species in tropical rain forests: the importance of existence values

Jon C. Lovett

Subjects: environment, ecological economics


Jon C. Lovett* 1 INTRODUCTION Tropical rain forests are often considered to be one of the most biologically diverse terrestrial ecosystems on Earth. This diversity is the basis for many of the arguments in favour of rain forest conservation. When rain forests are heavily disturbed or converted to agriculture, they are replaced by less diverse secondary forests or cropping regimes. The shift from a highly diverse state of nature to a less diverse one is perceived to be associated with a loss of economic value. The perceived loss of value to a species rich rain forest is greatest when a primary, primeval Urwald (Ur = primitive, wald = forest) type of forest is replaced by secondary forest or other vegetation that is the product of anthropic activities. This is not to say that all Urwald is naturally in a static state, as many forests are exposed to disturbance due to storms, earthquakes, climatic fluctuations, herbivore infestation (both large and small herbivores) and other phenomena. Similarly, rain forests are not entirely composed of species that have evolved in situ and contain many plant species which have arrived naturally by long-distance dispersal, a process which is taking place all the time. Changes in economic values resulting from a transition from an Urwald state to an invaded and/or disturbed state are usually associated with human intervention precipitating the change, rather than other forms of disturbance. The change in state can have an important effect on land use. For example, a tropical rain forest may be...

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