Biological invasions are responsible for substantial biodiversity declines as well as high economic losses to society and monetary expenditures associated with the management of these invasions1,2. The InvaCost database has enabled the generation of a reliable, comprehensive, standardized and easily updatable synthesis of the monetary costs of biological invasions worldwide3. Here we found that the total reported costs of invasions reached a minimum of US$1.288 trillion (2017 US dollars) over the past few decades (1970–2017), with an annual mean cost of US$26.8 billion. Moreover, we estimate that the annual mean cost could reach US$162.7 billion in 2017. These costs remain strongly underestimated and do not show any sign of slowing down, exhibiting a consistent threefold increase per decade. We show that the documented costs are widely distributed and have strong gaps at regional and taxonomic scales, with damage costs being an order of magnitude higher than management expenditures. Research approaches that document the costs of biological invasions need to be further improved. Nonetheless, our findings call for the implementation of consistent management actions and international policy agreements that aim to reduce the burden of invasive alien species.
High and rising economic costs of biological invasions worldwide
4 May 2021