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Biological Invasions and International Trade: Managing a Moving Target

Formally Refereed
Authors: Rebecca Epanchin-Niell, Carol McAusland, Andrew Liebhold, Paul Mwebaze, Michael R. Springborn
Year: 2021
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Review of Environmental Economics and Policy


Humans move species around the globe, both intentionally and unintentionally, and biological invasions have been accelerating for many species groups (Seebens et al. 2017). While most nonnative species (NNS) have little impact within their invaded habitat, many exhibit extraordinary population growth and adversely affect species with which they share no evolutionary history. NNS can also have significant negative economic impacts, estimated at $162 billion ($2019) annually in the United States (Pimentel, Zuniga, and Morrison 2005) and up to 12 percent of GDP in some developed countries (Marbuah, Gren, and McKie 2014). Harmful impacts of NNS include disrupting agriculture and other managed landscapes (e.g., forests, aquatic systems), ecosystemservice loss, and disease spread (Eiswerth, Lawley, and Taylor 2018). For example, the emerald ash borer beetle—likely introduced to theUnites States via wood packaging material—has spread to at least 35 states, killing hundreds of millions of ash trees. Its impacts on US residential housing values alone are estimated at $452 million ($2019) annually (Aukema et al. 2011), with total discounted damages of $24.9 billion ($2019; Epanchin-Niell and Liebhold 2015). In this article, we examine the processes underlying the relationship between trade and NNS, interventions aimed at preventing NNS introductions, and the role of policy and economicresearch in managing and reducing trade-related NNS risk.


Trade, introduction pathways, invasive species


Epanchin-Niell, Rebecca; McAusland, Carol; Liebhold, Andrew; Mwebaze, Paul; Springborn, Michael R. 2021. Biological Invasions and International Trade: Managing a Moving Target. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. 15(1): 180-190.