The Economic Impact of Invasive Species
An invasive species is a plant, animal, or microbe that has been introduced to a new area, and is subsequently overpopulated and harmful to the environment. While most introduced species are beneficial or neutral for the native species in the host ecosystem, some have a negative impact on its environment, habitat, or bioregion. Invasive species can also have economic consequences. Listed below are some of the most common examples of invasive species.
Impacts of invasive species on ecosystems
Invasive species and pathogens have been associated with a variety of adverse effects on human populations. Invasive species, which can also affect ecosystem services, can cause massive loss of trees and timber, reduce property values, and degrade habitat. Infested ash trees in the Midwest are a prime target for this pest, which has caused significant economic damage. Native American basket weaving traditions also rely on black ash, making this pest particularly destructive. While the impact of ash borers has been studied extensively, there are only a few studies assessing the indirect effects of invasive species on ecosystems.
Invasive plants have many indirect effects on ecosystems. While direct impacts are the most obvious, indirect effects of invasive species are often subtler and more complex. Density-mediated indirect interactions, for example, occur when an invasive species reduces the population of native species. Indirect interactions mediated by trait-mediated processes change the strength of the per capita interactions between two species. To understand this process, we need to look at the invasive species and its host plant.
Sources of invasive species
Invasive species are plants, animals, and other organisms that have no natural habitat. Because of human activity, they can spread pathogens and diseases to vulnerable native species. In one example, Whirling disease decimated Rainbow Trout in many western rivers after it was imported from European hatcheries. Another example is the movement of seeds and viable roots of invasive plants and animals in wastewater. These organisms can spread via water flow to faraway areas. In some cases, the introduction of non-native species is caused by intentional releases or escapes from laboratory environments.
A major source of invasive species is fishing. Boats can bring unwanted organisms into freshwater systems by releasing unwanted bait. This can result in an overpopulation of invasive species in the water. This problem is made worse by the fact that many anglers are unaware of the possibility of moving harmful non-native species into their surroundings. And if the invasive species does manage to survive the trip, it will have a difficult time adjusting to their new habitat.
Invasive species can be controlled with several methods. Mechanical control is effective when the infestation is small, and flooding and hand-pulling can remove nests. Chemical control is effective when it targets specific species. However, this method can cause environmental damage and can be costly. Read on for more information on effective and sustainable ways to control invasive species. Invasive species can be devastating to an ecosystem, so it’s imperative to understand the best methods of control.
One effective control method is biological control, which involves using specific living organisms to reduce seed production and vigor of invasive plants. Invasive species in British Columbia came from Asia or Europe and are not naturally threatened by these predators. Biological control programs are not only effective, but also cost-efficient. To combat invasive species, British Columbia and other provinces have partnered with agriculture and agri-food Canada to conduct extensive testing.
Cost of eradicating invasive species
The economic burden of invasive species is enormous: from 1970 to 2017, they cost more than $1.288 trillion. Invasive species cause damage and loss to ecosystems and may spread disease. They may also eat away at crucial infrastructure and crops. Invasive species have become increasingly interconnected, with millions of them encroaching new habitats. The study found that costs incurred to control invasive species have doubled every six years.
One study estimated that costs associated with eradicating invasive species can reach $162.7 billion a year. The authors studied nearly 19,000 scientific papers published over the past few decades and used statistical models to estimate yearly costs. They included factors such as inflation, timescales, and currency exchange rates. The researchers found that the total yearly cost nearly doubled every six years and reached $162.7 billion in 2017.
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