The role of the Forest Service in the economics of invasive species researchThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Invasive species increasingly influence various sectors of the economy through their effects on agricultural, forest, range, aquatic, and urban ecosystems. Policymakers evaluating the actual and potential effects of invasive species are concerned with allocating scarce taxpayer resources among a variety of competing governmental actions. To make allocation choices, they need information about the costs and benefits of alternative policies. Unfortunately, little is known about the magnitude of economic damages caused by invasive species, the costs of alternative controls, or the underlying factors affecting invasion risks and spread rates, much less the effectiveness of money spent on invasive species management. Economists can provide a vision that synthesizes the connections among invasive species management options in ways that help decisionmakers. This comprehensive vision can improve the selection and targeting of resources to reduce economic, social, and ecological damages. This paper reviews past and current Forest Service research on the economics of invasive species, outlines specific research needs, and identifies possible emerging issues in invasive species economics and policy.