Skip to Main Content
Fundamental economic irreversibilities influence policies for enhancing international forest phytosanitary securityAuthor(s): Thomas P. Holmes; Will Allen; Robert G. Haight; E. Carina H. Keskitalo; Mariella Marzano; Maria Pettersson; Christopher P. Quine; E. R. Langer
Source: Current Forestry Reports
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
Download Publication (535.0 KB)
DescriptionNational and international efforts to manage forest biosecurity create tension between opposing sources of ecological and economic irreversibility. Phytosanitary policies designed to protect national borders from biological invasions incur sunk costs deriving from economic and political irreversibilities that incentivizes wait-and-see decision-making. However, the potential for irreversible ecological and economic damages resulting from failed phytosanitary policies argues for precautionary measures, creating sunk benefits while increasing the risk of over-investment in phytosanitary security. Here, we describe the inherent tension between these sources of irreversibility in economic terms, relate these forces to type I and type II errors, and use this framework to review national and international efforts to protect forests from biologicalinvasions. Available historical evidence suggests that wait-and-see phytosanitary decision-making has dominated the adoption of precautionary measures in most regions and that willingness to under-regulate may sometimes be orders of magnitude greater than willingness to over-regulate. Reducing scientific uncertainty about threats to biosecurity may help mitigate the tendency to under-regulate, and phytosanitary
security measures with relatively modest sunk costs could help protect forests as scientific learning advances. A fuller accounting of the costs associated with type II errors,
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationHolmes, Thomas P.; Allen, Will; G. Haight, Robert; Keskitalo, E. Carina H.; Marzano, Mariella; Pettersson, Maria; P. Quine, Christopher; Langer, E. R. 2017.Fundamental economic irreversibilities influence policies for enhancing international forest phytosanitary security. Current Forestry Reports. 3(3): 244-254. 11 p. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40725-017-0065-0.
KeywordsCost-benefit analysis . Externality . Non-market value . Option value . Precautionary principle . Risk .Quasi-option value . Stock effect . Uncertainty
- Facts or friction: the evolving role of science in phytosanitary issues
- Designating wilderness areas: A framework for examining lessons from the States
- Real options approach to inter-sectoral migration of U.S.farm labor
XML: View XML