Invasive species hurt developing world economies
January 18, 2008
The report, published by the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) says that "too much emphasis has been placed on the problems faced by the agricultural sector in developed countries rather than in developing countries" and that policymakers need to be informed on making better decisions to limit damage from invasive species.
"With the increase in global trade, invasive species are gaining more and more prominence around the world. However the level of awareness amongst decision-makers, and in particular those in developing countries is still relatively low," said Dennis Rangi, Chair of GISP. "Numbers are not enough; decision makers need to know the tangible effects invasive species are having on the individual farmers and their crops."
The report cites the high cost of alien weed and pest species in Africa. For example, effective control of the Triffid weed (Chromolaena odorata), a plant native to the Americas, would increase crop production by 34 percent and produce an additional $25.60 per hectare for each farmer. Meanwhile the Larger Grain Borer, a grain pest which has been recorded in over 18 African countries, reduces yield of small-holder farming systems by 23-60 percent.
The report advocates more research into the use of natural enemies from the invasive species' country of origin and introducing them to the environment where it has invaded.
By one estimate, invasive species cause worldwide impacts up to US$1.4 trillion annually or almost 5 percent of global GDP. Researchers have estimated the following annual environmental costs of introduced pests at $6.8 billion in Australia, $ 6.7 billion in Brazil, $ 25.0 billion in India, $ 3.0 billion in South Africa, $6.6 billion in the United Kingdom, and $ 58.0 billion in the United States.
Economic Impacts of Invasive Alien Species: A Global Problem with Local Consequences