Studies have found that the cost of damage caused by invasive species worldwide doubles every ten years.
Mosquitoes, rats, ragweed and termites are free-riding species on the global trade routes. They bring diseases, crop damage and building damage. Scientists calculated the cost since 1970 at US$1.3 billion (£944 billion) and stated that even this “astonishing number” may be greatly underestimated because many losses have not been reported.
Researchers say that the cost of rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down and is more than ten times higher than the funds needed to prevent or respond to these biological invasions. They said that global action to combat invasive species is still limited, mainly because the public and politicians have little understanding of the “deep”
Mosquitoes from Aedes The tiger mosquito and other genera transmitted Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever and other viruses, causing the greatest loss on record. Invasive rodents such as black rats, gray squirrels, nutrias and house rats have also caused serious damage to human health, crop and food storage, and wildlife.
In the United States, termites are greedy timber consumers, which is a particular problem, and red fire ants have spread from their South American homes to Australia, New Zealand, some Asian and Caribbean countries, and the United States. Autumn moths can destroy many crops. They arrived in Africa in 2016 and have now invaded dozens of countries.
“Since 1970, the economic costs of invasive alien species have been huge and have been steadily increasing, but they are still greatly underestimated,” said Christophe Diagne of the University of Saclay in Paris, France. He is the leader of this research. He said the increasing damage reflects the growth of international trade and the expansion of farmland and settlements that intruders may damage.
Professor Corey Bradshaw of Flinders University in Australia, who is part of the research team, said: “The sooner invasive species are discovered and the faster you take action, the cheaper it will be in the long run. The cost of a good detection and a quick response is several orders of magnitude less than the loss.
He said that consumers ultimately compensate for their losses by increasing the prices of food and other products and higher health care costs.
The study, published in the journal Nature, analyzed estimates of damage caused by more than 1,300 invasive plants and animals. In the United States, India, China and Brazil, the costs are highest, but this may reflect the most problematic areas. There is almost no data in many other parts of the world.
Some earlier cost estimates indicate that the losses are much higher-up to $140 million per year-but Bradshaw said these losses are largely based on poor or speculative assessments. He said: “Some don’t even have the’back of the envelope’-no envelope.”
The new analysis is deliberately conservative, using only estimates based on observed data. Bradshaw said: “But from a monetary perspective, there are too many things that cannot be quantified, such as ecosystem damage and productivity loss, so it is still the tip of the iceberg.” He said that the actual cost may be 10 times higher.
As we all know, biological invasions are increasing, so the increase in cost estimates is unlikely to be the result of increased damage reports. Scientists say that either way, “they show an alarming number” and “a huge economic burden.”
Professor Helen Roy of the British Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is not part of the research team. Overall, this is a very useful essay with some good suggestions. This also makes people feel optimistic-there are ways to prevent the arrival or management of established invasive alien species. “
Bradshaw said that the cinnamon fungus rots the roots of plants, including vines, and is one of Australia’s most destructive invasive species. “I have a small farm that killed all my chestnuts. Therefore, we are slowly replacing those trees with resistant trees.”