The recorded economic costs of alien invasive species in Italy

Phillip J. Haubrock, Ross N. Cuthbert, Elena Tricario, Christophe Diagne, Franck Courchamp, Rodolphe E. Gozlan

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Whilst the ecological impacts of invasion by alien species have been well documented, little is known of the economic costs incurred. The impacts of invasive alien species on the economy can be wide-ranging, from management costs, to loss of crops, to infrastructure damage. However, details on these cost estimates are still lacking, particularly at national and regional scales. In this study, we use data from the first global assessment of economic costs of invasive alien species (InvaCost), where published economic cost data were systematically gathered from scientific and grey literature. We aimed to describe the economic cost of invasions in Italy, one of the most invaded countries in Europe, with an estimate of more than 3,000 alien species. The overall economic cost of invasions to Italy between 1990 and 2020 was estimated at US$ 819.76 million (EUR€ 704.78 million). This cost was highest within terrestrial habitats, with considerably fewer costs being exclusively associated with aquatic habitats and management methods, highlighting a bias within current literature. There was also a clear indication of informational gaps, with only 15 recorded species with costs. Further, we observed a tendency towards particular taxonomic groups, with insect species accounting for the majority of cost estimates in Italy. Globally, invasion rates are not slowing down and the associated economic impact is thus expected to increase. Therefore, the evaluation and reporting of economic costs need to be improved across taxa, in order to mitigate and efficiently manage the impact of invasions on economies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247–266
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2021


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