Quantifying economic damages caused by invasive species is crucial for cost-benefit analyses of control measures. Most studies focus on short-term damage estimates, but evaluating exclusion or prevention measures requires estimates of total anticipated damages from the time of establishment onward. The magnitude of such damages critically depends on the timing of damages relative to a species’ arrival because costs are discounted back to the time of establishment. Using theoretical simulations, we illustrate how (ceteris paribus) total long-term damages, and hence the benefits of prevention efforts, are greater for species that a) have short lags between introduction and spread or between arrival at a location and initiation of damages, b) cause larger, short-lived damages (as opposed to smaller, persistent damages), and c) spread faster or earlier. We empirically estimate total long-term discounted impacts for three forest pests currently invading North America - gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar), hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), and emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) - and discuss how damage persistence, lags between introduction and spread, and spread rates affect damages. Many temporal characteristics can be predicted for new invaders and should be considered in species risk analyses and economic evaluations of quarantine and eradication programs.
Examining the Benefits of Invasive Species Prevention: The Role of Invader Temporal Characteristics
International trade and travel can enable otherwise innocuous species to wreak havoc in new and novel environments.
Developing Policies to Combat Invasive Species
Global trade—and now global warming—are making the problem of invasive species ever more challenging. From surveillance to cooperative management, ...
Infographic: The Benefits of Preventing Invasive Species: Timing Matters
Temporal factors are critical to determining the long-term costs of invasive species and evaluating the benefits of quarantine and prevention polic...