Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Public preferences and willingness to pay for invasive forest pest prevention programs in urban areas.

Abstract

Invasive forest pests can cause environmental and economic damage amounting to billions of dollars (US) in lost revenues, restoration and response costs, and the loss of ecosystem services nationwide. Unfortunately, these forest pests do not stay confined to wildland forest areas and can spread into suburban and urban areas, imposing significant costs on local governments, homeowners, and management agencies. In this study, a contingent valuation experiment is used to estimate Florida residents' willingness to pay (WTP) a monthly utility fee that would protect urban forests from invasive pests by implementing a monitoring and prevention program for their early detection and eradication. On average, the respondents are WTP US $5.44 per month to implement the surveillance program, revealing an aggregate WTP in the order of US $540 million per year. The results also reveal that respondents are sensitive to the scope of the program, with higher rates of participation and higher WTP for a program that is more effective at preventing forest pest invasions.