• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Center information
 Introduction
 Evidence of increased incidence...
 What economics has to contribute...
 Accessing the economic consequences...
 Modeling the impacts of sanitary...
 Concluding remarks
 Reference






Group Title: Policy Brief Series - International Agricultural Trade and Policy Center. University of Florida ; no. 03-4
Title: Economic dimensions of the problem of invasive species
CITATION PDF VIEWER THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089760/00001
 Material Information
Title: Economic dimensions of the problem of invasive species
Series Title: Policy Brief Series - International Agricultural Trade and Policy Center. University of Florida ; no. 03-4
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Evans, E.A.
Publisher: International Agricultural Trade and Policy Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2003
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089760
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

pb030004 ( PDF )


Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Center information
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Evidence of increased incidence of invasives and cost implications
        Page 5
    What economics has to contribute towards resolving the problem of invasiveness
        Page 6
    Accessing the economic consequences of invasive pests and diseases
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Modeling the impacts of sanitary and phytosanitary regulations
        Page 11
    Concluding remarks
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Reference
        Page 13
Full Text

PBTC 03-4


lonal Agricultural Trade and Policy Center


[I


ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS OF THE PROBLEM OF INVASIVE
SPECIES

By

E. A. Evans
PBTC 03-4 April 2003


POLICY BRIEF SERIES


i~fr


UNIVERSITY OF

FLORIDA


Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences


"j_
I'









INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL TRADE AND POLICY CENTER


MISSION AND SCOPE: The International Agricultural Trade and Policy Center
(IATPC) was established in 1990 in the Food and Resource Economics Department
(FRED) of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at the University of
Florida. Its mission is to provide information, education, and research directed to
immediate and long-term enhancement and sustainability of international trade and
natural resource use. Its scope includes not only trade and related policy issues, but also
agricultural, rural, resource, environmental, food, state, national and international
policies, regulations, and issues that influence trade and development.

OBJECTIVES:

The Center's objectives are to:

Serve as a university-wide focal point and resource base for research on
international agricultural trade and trade policy issues
Facilitate dissemination of agricultural trade related research results and
publications
Encourage interaction between researchers, business and industry groups,
state and federal agencies, and policymakers in the examination and
discussion of agricultural trade policy questions
Provide support to initiatives that enable a better understanding of trade and
policy issues that impact the competitiveness of Florida and southeastern
agriculture specialty crops and livestock in the U.S. and international markets









ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS OF THE PROBLEM OF INVASIVE SPECIES

E. A. Evans

Introduction

With the events of September 11, 2001, the anthrax mail attacks, and the

establishment of the Office of Homeland Security to develop and coordinate the

implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from

attacks, many individuals have become aware of the threat of biological weapons directed

towards people. However, few realize how vulnerable the U.S. agricultural infrastructure

is, and has been, to pests and disease outbreaks resulting from accidental or deliberate

introductions, and the constant battle that is being waged to prevent and/or mitigate the

spread of invasive species. Over the past 200 years or so, more than 50,000 foreign plant

and animal species have become established in the United States. About one in seven has

become invasive,1 with damage and control costs estimated at more than $138 billon each

year (USDA/APHIS, 2001). The problem of invasive species has intensified within the

last few years, making it a serious challenge to globalized trade. "Animals, plants, and

microbes can now migrate across the planet to new homes with unprecedented ease" (The

Economist, 2000, p. 118).

The problems of biological invasives and the decision-making framework

established to prevent their introduction and spread have traditionally been the domain of

the biological scientific community. However, as present management systems have

become overwhelmed by the increase in the introduction and spread of invasives, the



1 An "invasive species" is defined as a species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under
consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm
to human health. (E\cctill\ c Order 13112). Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms
(e.g., microbes) [http://www.invasivespecies.gov/].









scientific community is now calling for input by economics and other social science

disciplines to answer questions and carry out strategic actions to address the problems.

The economic dimension of the problem of invasive species is growing from at

least two perspectives. First, economics is central to the cause of biological invasiveness,

and the consequences of pest incursions go far beyond direct damages or control costs.

Most cases of invasiveness can be linked to the intended or unintended consequences of

economic activities (Perrings et al., 2002). Consequently, economic applications are

essential to understand the problem and provide more accurate and comprehensive

assessments of the benefits and costs of control alternatives to increase the effectiveness

and efficiency of publicly funded programs.

Second, modeling the economic and trade impacts of technical trade barriers is

becoming more important. Common among such barriers are those dealing with trade

restrictions that can be imposed by a country in an attempt to prevent entry of invasive

species. Such measures are within the rights of a country and often can be justified on the

grounds of economic and social prosperity. However, they can also impose unnecessary

social costs, thwart commercial opportunities, and reduce competition and economic

growth. The challenge is how best to incorporate economics in sanitary and phytosanitary

policy analyses to ensure that the benefits of the measures enacted exceed their costs.

The purpose of this article is to highlight aspects of the economic dimensions of

the problem of invasive species.









Evidence of Increased Incidence of Invasives and Cost Implications

The increased spread of invasive species reflects rapid globalization and trade

liberalization. These developments have spawned greater long-distance hitchhiking by

invasive species of pests and diseases, especially in the trading of live animals, and

horticultural and raw animal products. The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection

Service (USDA/APHIS, 2001) has cited a dramatic increase in the incidence of invasive

pests and diseases in the United States. Specifically, the study noted increased outbreaks

of exotic fruit fly infestations in California and Florida, entry of the Asian longhorn

beetle into New York and Illinois, the introduction of the Asian gypsy moth in North

Carolina and Oregon, and citrus canker infestations in Florida (USDA/APHIS, 2001).

Invasive species can cause considerable damages and costs for eradication and

control for societies; however, the full extent of the costs of damages caused by pest

incursions has only recently received greater appreciation. They can harm agricultural

systems and native plants and animals, particularly endemic species, because their natural

predators and parasites in their native land are usually not present in the new

environment. Thus, an invasive species that is not a pest in its native land could cause

significant damage in a new environment. In the extreme, such damage could lead to the

loss of biodiversity. For example, the Asian longhorn beetles that were first discovered in

the United States, in New York in 1996 and Chicago in 1998, are expected to damage

millions of acres of hardwood trees throughout U.S. forests and suburban landscapes. The

states of Illinois and New York City and local governments have already invested more

than $30 million to eradicate this pest and protect 6.7 million trees in the infested regions.









Since 1996, the state of Florida has spent in excess of $300 million dollars trying to

eradicate citrus canker.

Invasive species can also adversely affect important environmental service flows

such as cropping systems, livestock grazing, and recreational uses. Water systems can be

affected when pests clog rivers, irrigation systems, and shorelines. In addition, invasive

species can have negative impacts on ecological services provided by one resource for

other resources or an entire ecological system (Evans, Spreen, and Knapp, 2002).

What Economics Has To Contribute Towards
Resolving The Problem Of Invasiveness

Economics has traditionally been concerned with decision-making, particularly

with what decisions are made rather than how they are made-although to some extent

the discipline has started to embrace the latter. The discipline has developed a set of

analytical capabilities that can aid decision makers in arriving at a set of rational and

consistent decisions. The analytical capabilities, as pertain to the problem of invasives,

include rationale decision-making over a range of pests threats and management

interventions; monetary valuations; cost-benefit analysis as a tool to evaluate public

intervention strategies; allocation of scarce resources; and formal consideration of risk

and uncertainty. The discipline has also developed several methodologies to assess the

value of non-marketed environmental and health effects. With increasing demand for

transparency in decision-making, due to commitments to international agreements and

pressure from various interest groups, effective and convincing communication is

essential to implement desired strategies. When such communications are based on sound

economic analysis, efficiency in bargaining can be greatly enhanced.









Assessing the Economic Consequences of Invasive Pests and Diseases

Considerable effort is being devoted to assessing the full economic impacts of

invasive pests and diseases. The goal is to develop effective management programs to

help prevent, control, or mitigate such invasions. Previously, the focus was on identifying

the most cost-effective means of treatment for of an outbreak. Now the emphasis is on the

benefits and costs of treatments to determine how best to manage the particular pest

and/or disease.

Assessing the impact is challenging and imprecise. First, as noted earlier, the full

range of economic costs of biological invasions goes beyond the immediate impacts on

the affected agricultural producers. Often included are secondary and tertiary effects such

as shifts in consumer demands, changes in the relative prices of inputs, loss of important

biodiversity, and other natural resource and environmental amenities. The range of

economic impacts can be broadly classified into two categories: direct and indirect

impacts (Bigsby and Whyte, 2001). The direct impacts reflect the effects of the particular

pest or disease on the host while the indirect impacts are non-host specific. The latter

would be the general effects that are created by the presence of a pest but not specific to

the pest-host dynamics that could affect public health issues such as compromising key

ecosystem functions; general market effects, including possible changes in consumers

attitude toward a given product; research requirements; market access problem; and

impacts on tourism and other sectors of an economy.

Alternatively, six types of impacts can be identified: (1) production; (2) price and

market effects; (3) trade; (4) food security and nutrition; (5) human health and the

environment; and (6) financial costs impacts (FAO, 2001).









Production Impacts-These are considered the most direct economic impacts associated

with the host, resulting in the loss or reduced efficiency of agricultural production (such

as yield decline). Even though such impacts may be relatively easy to identify, they can

be difficult to measure. Disease can have lasting effects on the host in ways that are not

always obvious. In livestock, for example, there could be delays in reproduction,

resulting in fewer offspring. Pesticides applied to treat a given pest could pollute soil and

surface water. Also, distinguishing the impacts of the pests from other impacts such as

climate could be difficult.

Price and Market Impacts-Outbreaks of pests and diseases can directly affect the

quantities of a commodity demanded or supplied. The exact impact on the market and the

duration of the impact depend on several factors, including the nature of the pests and

diseases, market size, and the relative elasticities of demand and supply. In cases where

consumer health is involved, as in the recent outbreak of bovine spongiform

encephalopahy (BSE), consumer perceptions about an implicated product and the ability

of a country to produce safe food after an outbreak or illness are usually slow to recover

and can have a lasting influence on food demand and global trade. In addition, a range of

secondary effects may result from the multiplier effect.

Trade Impacts-The introduction and/or spread of invasive species can have major trade

implications that could outweigh direct production losses. Such trade impacts will depend

on a number of factors, including the policy response of trading partners to news about

outbreaks, the importance of traded commodities, the extent of the damage, and the

demand and supply elasticities. Important are the prospects of losing competitive

advantage in an export market and possibly the premium from supplying disease-free









products. Such concerns are real because unaffected countries will either prohibit entry of

the commodities from the affected country or establish a set of precautionary measures.

In either case, the competitive trade advantage could be lost.

Food Security and Nutrition Impacts-The extent to which invasive pests and diseases

either reduce the domestic supply of foods directly or restrict a country's international

trade could harm its food security, especially for developing countries.

Human Health and the Environment Impacts-Assessing the human health and

environmental impacts of invasive pests and diseases are difficult since, in many cases,

the impacts are not fully understood. Available evidence does suggest, however, that the

incidence of invasive food-borne diseases is growing and that their health and socio-

economic impacts are increasingly being felt in both developed and developing countries.

Financial Costs Impacts-Measures taken at the individual, collective, and international

levels to control, eradicate, or mitigate invasive pests and diseases may have budgetary

implications. Such costs could include the costs of inspections, monitoring, prevention,

and response.

Estimating these economic impacts requires a considerable amount of biological and

non-biological information that involves considerable time and expense. Most studies

have easily calculated impacts such as costs of control, eradication, and prevention and

the expected loss in productivity of the enterprise. However, such an approach is

shortsighted since, in several cases, the indirect effects arising from (say) the trade

impacts could easily outweigh production loss impacts. A recent GAO report commented

on the problem in its observation that:

The scope of existing studies on the economic impact of invasive species
in the United States range from narrow to comprehensive, and most are of









limited use for guiding decision makers formulating federal policies on
prevention and control. Narrowly focused estimates include analyses of
past damages that are limited to a certain commercial activities such as
agricultural crop production and simple accounting of the money spent to
combat a particular invasive species. These estimates typically do not
examine economic damage done to natural ecosystems, the expected costs
and benefits of alternative control measures, or the impact of possible
invasions by other species in the future.... In general the more
comprehensive the approach used to assess the economic impacts of
invasive species, the greater its potential usefulness to decision makers for
identifying potential invasive species, prioritizing their economic threat,
and allocating resources to minimize overall damages (U.S. GAO, 2002,
p. 3).

Valuing the non-market impacts can be challenging. In this regard, economists are

employing such tools as dynamic optimization and ex-ante simulation analyses to assist

decision makers (Evans, Spreen, and Knapp, 2002). Use is also being made of methods

such as "contingent valuation" and "willingness-to-pay to obtain or avoid similar benefits

or losses."

A more general measurement problem is the unavailability of data, especially

when there is no disease history. Complications also may arise from the uncertainty of

the scientific evidence about the probability of entry and establishment, rate of spread,

and the extent of damage. Closer collaboration between economists and biological

scientists as well as the increased availability of computer software programs (such as the

Excel @RISK program that combines dynamic simulation procedures with probability

distribution) allow analysts to combine actual, but limited, data with theoretical modeling

in determining potential impacts.









Modeling the Impacts of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Regulations

The need for a government to protect its citizens and environment against

imported externalities (such as invasive pests and diseases) is embraced by the WTO

Agreement,2 which promotes increased trade among countries. When legitimate

externalities or other market failures are addressed through technical trade barriers, for

instance, in a commodity with the potential to introduce disruptive pests and diseases,

they can safeguard national welfare. However, when such measures are imposed to

isolate domestic producers from international competition, they are welfare-decreasing.

This dual nature of the SPS measures providing externality-based protection versus

economic-based protection adds to the importance of comprehensive economic analysis

of the issues of invasive pests and diseases.

As a consequence, many economists are busy trying to develop a framework for

assessing the trade and welfare implications of trading a particular commodity under

different management options when there is the potential for introduction of an invasive

pest or disease. Developing such a framework, however, is far easier in theory than in

practice. Although not insurmountable, the involvement of externalities in the form of

unwanted pests and diseases, and specifically the risks and uncertainty associated with

them, complicate the standard economic policy analysis.

Concluding Remarks

The invasive species problem is posing a serious challenge in an era of increased

globalization and trade liberalization. The problem has as much to do with economics as

with ecology. Any solutions advanced must be firmly grounded in both science and









Modeling the Impacts of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Regulations

The need for a government to protect its citizens and environment against

imported externalities (such as invasive pests and diseases) is embraced by the WTO

Agreement,2 which promotes increased trade among countries. When legitimate

externalities or other market failures are addressed through technical trade barriers, for

instance, in a commodity with the potential to introduce disruptive pests and diseases,

they can safeguard national welfare. However, when such measures are imposed to

isolate domestic producers from international competition, they are welfare-decreasing.

This dual nature of the SPS measures providing externality-based protection versus

economic-based protection adds to the importance of comprehensive economic analysis

of the issues of invasive pests and diseases.

As a consequence, many economists are busy trying to develop a framework for

assessing the trade and welfare implications of trading a particular commodity under

different management options when there is the potential for introduction of an invasive

pest or disease. Developing such a framework, however, is far easier in theory than in

practice. Although not insurmountable, the involvement of externalities in the form of

unwanted pests and diseases, and specifically the risks and uncertainty associated with

them, complicate the standard economic policy analysis.

Concluding Remarks

The invasive species problem is posing a serious challenge in an era of increased

globalization and trade liberalization. The problem has as much to do with economics as

with ecology. Any solutions advanced must be firmly grounded in both science and









economics. Our economic discipline possesses the capability of valuing various market

and non-market impacts and provides a means for assessing important trade-offs among

various management alternatives, which can improve greatly the decision-making process

for managing such risks. In addition, it can improve the transparency of the decision

making process by providing justifications for the measures implemented. The true value

of economics should therefore not be seen solely in the precision of the numbers

generated, albeit this is important, but the extent to which the discipline aids decision

makers to formulate consistent and rationale decisions.


2 A separate agreement governing sanitary and phytosanitary issues, Agreement on the Application of
Sanitary and Pytosanitary Measures, was negotiated during the 1986-1994 Uruguay Round multilateral
trade negotiations.









REFERENCES


Bigsby, H. and C. Whyte. 2001. Quantifying phytosanitary barriers to trade. In
Interdisciplinary Food Safety Research, edited by N.Hooker and E. Murano.
New York, NY: CRC Press.

The Economist. 2000. New flora and fauna for old. December 23, pp. 118-119.

Evans, E., T. Spreen and J. Knapp. 2002. Economic issues of invasive pests and
diseases and food safety. The 2nd International Agricultural Trade and Policy
Conference, Gainesville, FL (November 14-15).

Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). 2001. The state offood and agriculture
2001. Rome, Italy. Available online at
http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/x9800e/x9800el4.htm.

Perrings, C., M. Williamson, E. Barbier, D. Delfino, S. Dalmazzone, J. Shogren, P.
Simmons, and A. Watkinson. 2002. Biological invasion risks and the public
good: An economic perspective. Conservation Ecology 6 (1): 1. Available online
at http://www.consecol.org/vol6/issl/artl.

U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). 2002. Invasive Species: Clearer Focus and
Greater Commitment Needed to Effectively Manage the Problem. GAO-02-1
Report, Washington, D.C. (October 22).

USDA/APHIS 2001. APHIS strategic plan 2000-2005. Available online at
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/aphissp/spextfaclhtml.




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs