Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Predicting socio-economic and biodiversity impacts of invasive species: red imported fire ant in the developing western pacific.

Abstract

Effective biosecurity and pest management are fundamental to sustainable development. Invasive ants pose significant risks to the environment and economy, which are well-managed by biosecurity agencies in developed countries. However, a comprehensive view of the potential impacts of invasive ants in developing Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) is lacking. We quantified the potential costs of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) across multiple sectors using an extrapolation analysis. Overall, we estimated that the impacts of Red Imported Fire Ant on developing PICTs could amount to over USD 329 million annually, corresponding to approximately 0.7% of combined GDP. Over half of the costs were predicted to result from impacts on the agriculture sector, a major source of employment and subsistence. We found that over 350 highly threatened species could be at risk from Red Imported Fire Ant. We would expect countries with Least Developed Country status and relatively low GDP to be least able to respond to an incursion of these ants, and as a result the costs could be higher than we have extrapolated. Red Imported Fire Ant could therefore potentially have considerable impact on the on-going development of the region.