. Energy News .

Homeowners, taxpayers pay billions to fight invasive pests
by Staff Writers
Orlando FL (SPX) Sep 13, 2011

This is UCF biologist Betsy Von Holle. Credit: UCF.

Homeowners and taxpayers are picking up most of the tab for damage caused by invasive tree-feeding insects that hide in packing materials, live plants and other goods imported from countries into the United States every year.

Results from a first-of-its-kind economic analysis, which estimates financial damage of importing foreign insects into the nation and trying to eradicate them once they establish, are reported in the journal PLoS One.

The authors, which include University of Central Florida Biologist Betsy Von Holle, looked at three types of invasive pests that feed on U.S. trees, the emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, and hemlock woolly adelgid. Using actual costs, researchers calculated the economic damages for five categories: federal governments, local governments, households, residential property value losses and timber value losses to forest landowners. The costs were staggering.

The costs of invasive forest insects to local governments is on average more than $2 billion per year and residential property value loss due to forest insects averages $ 1.5 billion a year. The federal government spends on average about $216 million a year.

"It is costing taxpayers billions as the government tries to eradicate these invaders," Von Holle said. "We're losing a variety of native species as a result of importing these pests. It's not just aesthetics. It's impacting our economy and our analysis shows just how much it is costing all of us, not just government."

Wood-boring insects such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle alone cost local governments an estimated $1.7 billion. Approximately $830 million is lost in residential property values each year.

The research team was composed of scientists from U.S. and Canadian universities and the U.S. Forest Service. The team's analysis also can be applied to other countries that face similar problems.

"Obviously, international trade has tremendous benefits, but it also has costs," said Juliann E. Aukema, the lead author and a scientist with the University of California at Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). "The regulations we currently have aren't keeping the pests out. We need to strengthen regulations and enforcement of them to protect our forests and our economy."

Wood-boring insects are not the only troublesome pests. Foliage feeders and sap feeders cause an estimated $410 million and $260 million, respectively, in lost residential property value each year.

And the costs will likely continue as there is a 32 percent risk that a new invader will enter the country in the next 10 years, exacting even more damage.

In addition to the three pests used for the study, researchers also used an exhaustive database of established non-native forest insects, and a novel modeling approach to arrive at their results.

The authors have developed an analytical framework that can be used in any country where data are available. The framework can be easily adapted for estimating costs in other natural resource sectors, including fire, disease, and water quality, at scales from municipalities to nations.

Co-authors include Brian Leung and Corey Chivers from McGill University, Montreal; Ken Kovacs of the University of Minnesota; Kerry O. Britton, Susan J. Frankel, Robert G. Haight, Thomas P. Holmes and Andrew M. Liebhold from the U.S. Forest Service; Jeffrey Englin from Arizona State University, and Deborah G. McCullough from Michigan State University. The Nature Conservancy supported the group's work.

Von Holle joined UCF in 2007 after working at the Smithsonian's Environmental Research Center, Harvard University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Von Holle has a bachelor's of science in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from the University of California at San Diego and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She has received multiple awards and grants from many institutions including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The California native also has published many articles.

One paper, "Ecological resistance to biological invasion overwhelmed by propagule pressure" was identified by Essential Science Indicators as an Emerging Research Front, , which means it is one of the most-cited papers in a highlighted research area in the field of Environment/Ecology. Essential Science Indicators is a resource that enables researchers to conduct ongoing, quantitative analyses of research performance and track trends in science.

Related Links
University of Central Florida
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology


Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

China plant resources need additional protections
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 13, 2011
China needs to change where it sites its nature reserves and steer people out of remote rural villages toward cities to protect its valuable but threatened wild plant resources, according to an article published in the September issue of BioScience. The article, by Weiguo Sang and Keping Ma of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Botany and Jan C. Axmacher of University College, L ... read more

Satellites improve disaster monitoring efficiency in China

GIS Finds its Way to The Cloud

Ultrafast substorm auroras explained

Getting the picture via satellite

Americans tap into location-based services: study

Northrop Grumman Business Unit Astro Aerospace Delivers Antennas to Lockheed Martin for GPS III

Researchers Improving GPS Accuracy In The Third Dimension

ASA Search and Rescue Software Used To Locate Capsized Boat Off Ireland

US national forests can provide public health benefits

West coast log, lumber exports soar in first half of 2011

Firewood Movement Leading Cause of Oak Infestation

Forests under threat from exotic earthworm invasion

Research offers means to detoxify mycotoxin-contaminated grain intended for ethanol, animal feed

Hog waste producing electricity and carbon offsets

Scotch whiskey waste fuels biomass plant

Biofuels Make a Comeback Despite Tough Economy

Solar O and M Company to Operate 30 MW PV Power Plant

SolarBridge Technologies Awarded DoE Grant

Global PV Module Shipments to Reach 30GW in 2015

SolarCity Unveils Plan to Double the Total Number of Residential Solar Installations in the US

First market report on High Altitude Wind Energy

Researchers build a tougher, lighter wind turbine blade

Wind Power Now Less Expensive Than Natural Gas In Brazil

BMW to power Leipzig factory by wind energy

India's coal projects face obstacles

Trapped Chinese miners unlikely to survive: Xinhua

China pulls 19 from flooded mine in rare rescue

3 rescued in China mine, 23 still trapped

Nepal arrests 20 Tibetan teens crossing from China

China's secret detention plans alarm activists

Banned Chinese writer fights 'brainwashing'

Man kills two children, four adults in China axe attack

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement