Economic and Social Impacts
The economic and social impacts of invasive species include both direct effects of a species on property values, agricultural productivity, public utility operations, native fisheries, tourism, and outdoor recreation, as well as costs associated with invasive species control efforts. A 2021 study estimated that invasive species have cost North America $2 billion per year in the early 1960s to over $26 billion per year since 2010 (Crystal-Ornela, R. et al. 2021). Globally, it is estimated that the economic cost of invasive species has been $1.288 trillion over the past 50 years (Zenni, R.D. et al. 2021).
Examples of species with agricultural impacts include leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula), a plant that was introduced to the United States in the late 1800s and has since invaded large areas of the Great Plains Region, decreasing the grazing capacity for livestock (Leistritz et al. 2004), and the pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella), an insect that was recently eradicated from the U.S. and has caused severe economic losses to cotton farmers in Arizona and California due to reduced yields, decreased quality, and increased control costs (Henneberry and Naranjo 1998).
Examples of non-agricultural economic impacts include zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), which block intake pipes for power generation and water treatment facilities, and sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), which can reduce the populations of commercially significant fish species through predation (Rosaen et al. 2016).
See also: General Invasive Species Impacts
The section below contains highly relevant resources for this subject, organized by source.
Council or Task Force
- Crystal-Ornelas R., E.J. Hudgins, R.N. Cuthbert, et al. 2021. Economic costs of biological invasions within North America. NeoBiota 67:485-510.
- Henneberry, T.J., and S.E. Naranjo. 1998. Integrated management approaches for pink bollworm in the southwestern United States. Integrated Pest Management Reviews 3(1):31-52.
- Leistritz, F.L., D.A. Bangsund, and N.M. Hodur. 2004. Assessing the economic impact of invasive weeds: The case of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula). Weed Technology 18:1392-1395.
- Rosaen, A.L., E.A. Grover, and C.W. Spencer. 2016. The Costs of Aquatic Invasive Species to Great Lakes States (PDF | 1.20 MB) East Lansing, Mich.: Anderson Economic Group.
- Zenni R.D., F. Essl, E. García-Berthou, et al. 2021. The economic costs of biological invasions around the world. NeoBiota 67:1-9.