Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Arizona environmental economist says invasive species is part of the price of doing business

16.02.2009
When the sun rides low on the horizon and winter chills wrap us all in down and fleece, global trade brings blueberries from South America, oranges from Israel. But trade in exotic goods also comes with significant local economic costs, explains Charles Perrings, professor of environmental economics at Arizona State University.

In the rush to market, products also bring hitchhikers: invasive species. These exotics often overtake native species, ravage agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and damage ecosystems and, ultimately, economics. Disproportionately so in developing countries' economies, Perrings says. In a presentation at the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting on Feb. 13, Perrings puts forward an issue that, he says, currently attracts more expenditures than any other environmental problem.

How can what seems like only a few zebra mussels and Mediterranean fruit flies (Medfly) have such a large economic effect? Besides obvious direct impacts of pathogens and losses to biodiversity, disrupted ecosystems also lose resilience, the ability to spring back from environmental challenges and human-based insults.

The numbers are staggering. Perrings, whose four-volume "Ecological Economics" has just been published, refers to one estimate that the annual economic damage due to invasive species is equal to 53 percent of agricultural GDP in the United States, 31 percent in the United Kingdom and 48 percent in Australia, but 96 percent, 78 percent and 112 percent of agricultural GDP in South Africa, India and Brazil, respectively.

What is the solution? In a nutshell: thinking locally and acting globally. According to Perrings' study "individual countries need to consider how to contain trade-related species dispersal and international cooperation needs to act to reduce the invasive species risks of trade – especially those stemming from poor country exports."

Perrings' studies in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University focus on the role of global drivers of biodiversity change, particularly trade in altering ecosystems services and in developing both institutional and policy responses. He and colleague Ann Kinzig, associate professor in ASU School of Life Sciences, direct the ecoSERVICES group in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This group operates a number of international research programs, including "Advancing Conservation in a Social Context," funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The ecoSERVICES group concentrates on "the causes and consequences of change in ecosystem services – the benefits that people derive from the biophysical environment – and analyzes biodiversity change in terms of its impacts on the things that people care about."

Most recently, a group of researchers from ecoSERVICES, in partnership with the Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments at ASU, were awarded a $2 million grant by the National Science Foundation. The Sustainable Infrastructure for Water and Energy Supply (SINEWS) project will examine the resilience and sustainability of power and water infrastructures in semi-arid urban settings.

"The principle challenge to building a science of sustainability is the development of predictive models of systems change that enable society to evaluate mitigation options alongside adaptation," says Perrings.

The economic problems posed by invasive species, he believes, will require "measures to 'internalize' the external costs of trade – to confront exporters and importers with the true cost of their actions.

"But, it also requires defensive measures to mitigate import risks, to control established invasive species, and to coordinate international action to regulate trade routes," Perrings adds. "This problem is particularly difficult to contend with in low income countries. They are vulnerable to the effects of invasive species, but also have fewer resources to adopt effective sanitary or other control measures."

What could these insights mean on one's own home turf? The recent move to buy locally, combined with well regulated imports might come with an added pay-off to the pocket book, as well carbon foot print: healthier ecosystems.

Margaret Coulombe | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>