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      Economic Impacts of Non-Native Forest Insects in the Continental United States

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          Abstract

          Reliable estimates of the impacts and costs of biological 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, but are threatened by non-native insects. More than 450 non-native forest insects are established in the United States but estimates of broad-scale economic impacts associated with these species are largely unavailable. We developed a novel modeling approach that maximizes the use of available data, accounts for multiple sources of uncertainty, and provides cost estimates for three major feeding guilds of non-native forest insects. For each guild, we calculated the economic damages for five cost categories and we estimated the probability of future introductions of damaging pests. We found that costs are largely borne by homeowners and municipal governments. Wood- and phloem-boring insects are anticipated to cause the largest economic impacts by annually inducing nearly $1.7 billion in local government expenditures and approximately $830 million in lost residential property values. Given observations of new species, there is a 32% chance that another highly destructive borer species will invade the U.S. in the next 10 years. Our damage estimates provide a crucial but previously missing component of cost-benefit analyses to evaluate policies and management options intended to reduce species introductions. The modeling approach we developed is highly flexible and could be similarly employed to estimate damages in other countries or natural resource sectors.

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          Most cited references 76

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          Environmental and Economic Costs of Nonindigenous Species in the United States

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            Forest Ecosystem Responses to Exotic Pests and Pathogens in Eastern North America

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              Chain reactions linking acorns to gypsy moth outbreaks and Lyme disease risk.

              In eastern U.S. oak forests, defoliation by gypsy moths and the risk of Lyme disease are determined by interactions among acorns, white-footed mice, moths, deer, and ticks. Experimental removal of mice, which eat moth pupae, demonstrated that moth outbreaks are caused by reductions in mouse density that occur when there are no acorns. Experimental acorn addition increased mouse density. Acorn addition also increased densities of black-legged ticks, evidently by attracting deer, which are key tick hosts. Mice are primarily responsible for infecting ticks with the Lyme disease agent. The results have important implications for predicting and managing forest health and human health.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2011
                9 September 2011
                : 6
                : 9
                Affiliations
                [1 ]The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara, California, United States of America
                [2 ]Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
                [3 ]School of Environment, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
                [4 ]Department of Applied Economics and Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, United States of America
                [5 ]U.S. Forest Service, Research and Development, Arlington, Virginia, United States of America
                [6 ]Morrison School of Agribusiness and Resource Management, Arizona State University, Mesa, Arizona, United States of America
                [7 ]U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany, California, United States of America
                [8 ]U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, St. Paul, Minnesota, United States of America
                [9 ]U.S. Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States of America
                [10 ]U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Morgantown, West Virginia, United States of America
                [11 ]Department of Entomology and Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States of America
                [12 ]Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, United States of America
                Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, United States of America
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: JEA BL KK CC KOB JE SJF RGH TPH AML DGM BVH. Performed the experiments: JEA BL KK CC RGH TPH AML DGM BVH. Analyzed the data: JEA BL KK CC RGH TPH AML DGM BVH. Wrote the paper: JEA BL KK CC RGH TPH AML DGM.

                Article
                PONE-D-11-03875
                10.1371/journal.pone.0024587
                3170362
                21931766
                This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
                Page count
                Pages: 7
                Categories
                Research Article
                Agriculture
                Forestry
                Biology
                Ecology
                Community Ecology
                Ecological Risk
                Species Interactions
                Biodiversity
                Conservation Science
                Ecological Economics
                Terrestrial Ecology
                Earth Sciences
                Environmental Sciences
                Environmental Economics
                Science Policy
                Science Policy and Economics
                Cost-Benefit Analysis
                Social and Behavioral Sciences
                Economics
                Environmental Economics

                Uncategorized

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