Research highlight

Ecology: Global cost of biological invasions

Scientific Data

September 9, 2020

The economic costs of biological invasions around the world are presented in a dataset described online in Scientific Data. To date, 2,419 cost estimates ranging from 1945 to 2017 are included in this updatable database associated with 343 species across 90 countries.

A ‘biological invasion’ is the introduction and spread of a species outside its native range. Invaders contribute to biodiversity loss and the spread of diseases, leading to substantial economic losses resulting from crop damage, degradation of infrastructure, human health expenditures and management costs associated with attempted control of the invasion. Many more invasions are expected in the near future and awareness of their financial impact may help to convince policymakers to give the problem more attention.

Christophe Diagne and colleagues present InvaCost, the most up-to-date, standardized and comprehensive, global-scale data compilation and description of economic cost estimates associated with invasive species. All cost estimates have been converted from twenty local currencies to a single inflation-corrected currency (US dollar value for 2017). Searches of the dataset can be made based on taxonomic group, geographical area, impacted sectors or types of cost.

With the new clarity these assembled data provide, the authors hope that InvaCost could help to bridge the gap between our growing scientific understanding of the impact of invaders and the inadequate action taken to manage these invasions thus far.

doi: 10.1038/s41597-020-00586-z

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