Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The magnitude, diversity, and distribution of the economic costs of invasive terrestrial invertebrates worldwide.

Abstract

Invasive alien species (IAS) are a major driver of global biodiversity loss, hampering conservation efforts and disrupting ecosystem functions and services. While accumulating evidence documented ecological impacts of IAS across major geographic regions, habitat types and taxonomic groups, appraisals for economic costs remained relatively sparse. This has hindered effective cost-benefit analyses that inform expenditure on management interventions to prevent, control, and eradicate IAS. Terrestrial invertebrates are a particularly pervasive and damaging group of invaders, with many species compromising primary economic sectors such as forestry, agriculture and health. The present study provides synthesised quantifications of economic costs caused by invasive terrestrial invertebrates on the global scale and across a range of descriptors, using the InvaCost database. Invasive terrestrial invertebrates cost the global economy US$ 712.44 billion over the investigated period (up to 2020), considering only high-reliability source reports. Overall, costs were not equally distributed geographically, with North America (73%) reporting the greatest costs, with far lower costs reported in Europe (7%), Oceania (6%), Africa (5%), Asia (3%), and South America (< 1%). These costs were mostly due to invasive insects (88%) and mostly resulted from direct resource damages and losses (75%), particularly in agriculture and forestry; relatively little (8%) was invested in management. A minority of monetary costs was directly observed (17%). Economic costs displayed an increasing trend with time, with an average annual cost of US$ 11.40 billion since 1960, but as much as US$ 165.01 billion in 2020, but reporting lags reduced costs in recent years. The massive global economic costs of invasive terrestrial invertebrates require urgent consideration and investment by policymakers and managers, in order to prevent and remediate the economic and ecological impacts of these and other IAS groups.