While invasive insect species are widely recognized as being among the greatest threats to biodiversity and ecosystem stability worldwide, there has been little research into their economic impact on the national level especially for non-native invasive species.
Many examples come to mind like the devastation caused by the native bark beetle in Colorado and surrounding states. However, what most don’t realize is that the threat from non-native insect species is equally if not more costly to U.S. tax payers.
In fact, according to a new study by a U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station science team, non-native, wood-boring insects such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle are costing an estimated $1.7 billion in local government expenditures. Add to those millions of dollars approximately $830 million in lost residential property values every year and one gets the idea that these invaders are costing us a lot.
Reliable estimates of the impacts and costs of insect invasions are critical to developing credible management, trade and regulatory policies. Worldwide, forests and urban trees provide important ecosystem services as well as economic and social benefits
The research findings are reported in the on-line journal PloS One this month. The new study provides the most comprehensive estimates of the costs of non-native forest insects that are currently available for the United States.