While the subset of introduced species that become invasive is small, the damages caused by that subset and the costs of controlling them can be substantial. This chapter takes an in-depth look at the economic damages non-native species cause, methods economists often use to measure those damages, and tools used to assess invasive species policies. From Invasive Species in Forests and Rangelands of the United States.
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 2005 study estimated that the economic damages associated with invasive species in the United States reached approximately $120 billion/year (FWS 2012).
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
- 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.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2012. The cost of invasive species (PDF | 831 KB)
The section below contains highly relevant resources for this subject, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Economic and Social Impacts
Council or Task Force
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.
Oregon Sea Grant; Oregon State University; DOC. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
Prepared for the Oregon Invasive Species Council.
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
This guide will assist Pacific island practitioners to use the costs that result from invasive species incursions to gain support to fund prevention, management, restoration, research, and outreach. For more knowledge resources, please visit the Pacific Battler Resource Base.
Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (Australia).
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (South Africa); Global Invasive Species Programme.
See also: GISP Publications and Reports for more resources
Invasive Species Centre. Asian Carp Canada.
USDA. APHIS. National Wildlife Research Center.
Managers often struggle to calculate the ecological and economic costs associated with invasive species. Yet, knowing these impacts can boost support and understanding for invasive species management. In a new book chapter, NWRC economist Dr. Stephanie Shwiff and colleagues describe how economists determine costs of both primary and secondary impacts from invasive species and how these translate into jobs and revenue in regional economies.
Weed Science Society of America.
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from their weed management toolbox? A team of experts with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) found that in the U.S. and Canada, about half of both crops would be lost to uncontrolled weeds, costing growers about $43 billion annually.