A recent study in the journal Nature suggests that the global economic cost of invasive species – in both “damage” costs and “management” costs – has been at least $1.28 trillion during the past 50 years, and that’s likely an underestimation.
“This trillion-dollar bill doesn’t show any sign of slowing down, with a consistent three-fold increase per decade,” said author Christophe Diagne of the Université Paris-Saclay in a statement. “The global costs of invasive alien species are so massive that we spent months verifying our models and this overall estimate to ensure we were not exaggerating.”
This acceleration of invasive-species effects can be partly explained by the increase in pathways through which these species are introduced, such as increasing global trade and transportation.
“For decades, researchers have been evaluating the significant impacts of invasive species, but the problem isn’t well known by the public and policy makers,” said Boris Leroy, a biogeographer at the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris. “By estimating the global cost, we hoped to raise awareness of the issue and identify the most costly species,” which, the study found, are mosquitos, rats and cats.
Another $408.6 million in costs have accrued from zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes.