Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Research agendas for profitable invasive species.

Abstract

Management of natural resources with uncertain net benefits presents an interdisciplinary challenge; economists often must rely on other disciplines to advise and evaluate policies. Net benefits may be uncertain due to absent, inconclusive or contradictory scientific findings. Economics must interpret uncertainties and ground policy recommendations in this context. Understanding biases in primary research agendas and the roles of vertical and horizontal integration in knowledge production and management are essential to prevent sub-optimal allocations across time and space, including avoiding recommendations of excess or insufficient harvest. We empirically investigate these biases by comparing disparate scientific literature and management decisions across vested interests to uncover how economic incentives systematically vary across research investments. The Barents Sea Red King Crab, a simultaneously profitable and invasive species with different net benefits across stakeholders, provides the empirical evidence. We find that scientific consensus is harder to achieve even for primary research when economic incentives differ across research institutions and that research agendas shift over time in response to changes in relative trade-offs between ecological consequences and financial benefits from the resource's presence. Impacts on management are accentuated by integration of the scientific research programmes and management decisions; broadening research participation and agendas may alleviate bias.