Conservation & sustainability, Food security, Studies

Aggregate costs and benefits of government invasive species control activities

Abstract: Government activities to exclude, detect, eradicate, contain and suppress invasive plant and animal species that affect agriculture are central to biosecurity. We identify and measure costs of such government activities in 2003 attributable to invasive species control in California for agriculture, and categorize expenditures by type of activity. We also explore potential economic costs from curtailing these activities, thereby increasing probability and severity of pest or disease occurrences. Potential loss in consumer and producer benefits is roughly proportional to the value of agricultural output, depending on relevant supply and demand relationships. We compare our projections of economic losses from invasive species of harm to agriculture, which would follow from removal of government control programs, to the direct costs incurred in government programs for control of invasive species. We find that expected costs of increased probability and severity of pest occurrences exceed by a large margin recent government budget outlays to protect against such occurrences. When benefits to consumers and producers are both considered for all affected commodities, the benefits cost ratios range from 2.8 to 5.3, all far above the threshold of 1.0. Some invasive species also have potential impacts on the non-agricultural environment or to human health, but evaluation of these broader consequences is left for further research.

Read full article here (pdf): Aggregate Costs and Benefits of Government Invasive Species Control Activities. By Daniel A. Sumner, Henrich Brunke and Marcia Kreith. (pdf, 163kb, September 2006. Forthcoming in the Proceedings of The International Conference on the Future of Agriculture: Science, Stewardship, and Sustainability, August 7-9, 2006.)

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