Economic costs of invasive species in Germany

Phillip J. Haubrock, Ross N. Cuthbert, Andrea Sundermann, Christophe Diagne, Marina Golivets, Franck Courchamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
84 Downloads (Pure)


Invasive alien species are a well-known and pervasive threat to global biodiversity and human well-being. Despite substantial impacts of invasive alien species, quantitative syntheses of monetary costs incurred from invasions in national economies are often missing. As a consequence, adequate resource allocation for management responses to invasions has been inhibited, because cost-benefit analysis of management actions cannot be derived. To determine the economic cost of invasions in Germany, a Central European country with the 4th largest GDP in the world, we analysed published data collected from the first global assessment of economic costs of invasive alien species. Overall, economic costs were estimated at US$ 9.8 billion between 1960 and 2020, including US$ 8.9 billion in potential costs. The potential costs were mostly linked to extrapolated costs of the American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus, the black cherry Prunus serotina and two mammals: the muskrat Ondatra zibethicus and the American mink Neovison vison. Observed costs were driven by a broad range of taxa and mostly associated with control-related spending and resource damages or losses. We identified a considerable increase in costs relative to previous estimates and through time. Importantly, of the 2,249 alien and 181 invasive species reported in Germany, only 28 species had recorded economic costs. Therefore, total quantifications of invasive species costs here should be seen as very conservative. Our findings highlight a distinct lack of information in the openly-accessible literature and governmental sources on invasion costs at the national level, masking the highly-probable existence of much greater costs of invasions in Germany. In addition, given that invasion rates are increasing, economic costs are expected to further increase. The evaluation and reporting of economic costs need to be improved in order to deliver a basis for effective mitigation and management of invasions on national and international economies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-246
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2021


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