The economic cost of protecting islands from invasive alien species

Thomas Bodey* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Biological invasions represent a key threat to insular systems and have pronounced impacts across environments and economies. The ecological impacts have received substantial focus, but the socioeconomic impacts are poorly synthesized across spatial and temporal scales. We used the InvaCost database, the most comprehensive assessment of published economic costs of invasive species, to assess economic impacts on islands worldwide. We analyzed socioeconomic costs across differing expenditure types and examined temporal trends across islands that differ in their political geography—island nation states, overseas territories, and islands of continental countries. Over US$36 billion in total costs (including damages and management) has occurred on islands from 1965 to 2020 due to invasive species’ impacts. Nation states incurred the greatest total and management costs, and islands of continental countries incurred costs of similar magnitude, both far higher than those in overseas territories. Damage-loss costs were significantly lower, but with qualitatively similar patterns across differing political geographies. The predominance of management spending differs from the pattern found for most countries examined and suggests important knowledge gaps in the extent of many damage-related socioeconomic impacts. Nation states spent the greatest proportion of their gross domestic products countering these costs, at least 1 order of magnitude higher than other locations. Most costs were borne by authorities and stakeholders, demonstrating the key role of governmental and nongovernmental bodies in addressing island invasions. Temporal trends revealed cost increases across all island types, potentially reflecting efforts to tackle invasive species at larger, more socially complex scales. Nevertheless, the already high total economic costs of island invasions substantiate the role of biosecurity in reducing and preventing invasive species arrivals to reduce strains on limited financial resources and avoid threats to sustainable development goals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPeople and Nature
Early online date29 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • economic impact
  • government
  • InvaCost
  • overseas territory
  • political geography
  • socioeconomic
  • biodiversidad
  • geografía política
  • gobierno
  • impacto económico
  • socioeconómico

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