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 Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>