Biological Invasions (2012) 14, 839-849
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Cost-benefit analysis for intentional plant introductions under uncertainty
Biological Invasions 14 (4), 839-849
Abstract: Worldwide, we rely on introduced plants for the essentials of human life; however, intentional plant introductions for commercial benefit have resulted in invaders with negative environmental, economic or social impacts. We argue that plant species of low expected economic value should be less acceptable for introduction than species of high economic value if their other traits are similar; however, key traits such as likelihood of escape and costs of escape are often highly uncertain. Methods do not currently exist which allow decision makers to evaluate costs and benefits of introduction under uncertainty. We developed a cost-benefit analysis for determining plant introduction that incorporates probability of escape, expected economic costs after escape, expected commercial benefits, and the efficiency and cost of containment. We used a model to obtain optimal decisions for the introduction and containment of commercial plants while maximizing net benefit or avoiding losses. We also obtained conditions for robust decisions which take into account severe uncertainty in model parameters using information-gap decision theory. Optimal decisions for introduction and containment of commercial plants depended, not only on the probability of escape and subsequent costs incurred, but also on the anticipated commercial benefit, and the cost and efficiency of containment. When our objective is to maximize net benefit, increasing uncertainty in parameter values increased the likelihood of introduction; in contrast, if our objective is to avoid losses, more uncertainty decreased the likelihood of introduction.
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Database assignments for author(s): Philip E. Hulme
Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
new introduction of pest
Pest and/or beneficial records: