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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Microbiology - Science Policy

Framework for Modelling Economic Impacts of Invasive Species, Applied to Pine Wood Nematode in Europe
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Author: Tarek Soliman et al.

by Tarek Soliman, Monique C. M. Mourits, Wopke van der Werf, Geerten M. Hengeveld, Christelle Robinet, Alfons G. J. M. Oude Lansink

Background

Economic impact assessment of invasive species requires integration of information on pest entry, establishment and spread, valuation of assets at risk and market consequences at large spatial scales. Here we develop such a framework and demonstrate its application to the pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, which threatens the European forestry industry. The effect of spatial resolution on the assessment result is analysed.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Direct economic impacts resulting from wood loss are computed using partial budgeting at regional scale, while impacts on social welfare are computed by a partial equilibrium analysis of the round wood market at EU scale. Substantial impacts in terms of infested stock are expected in Portugal, Spain, Southern France, and North West Italy but not elsewhere in EU in the near future. The cumulative value of lost forestry stock over a period of 22 years (2008–2030), assuming no regulatory control measures, is estimated at €22 billion. The greatest yearly loss of stock is expected to occur in the period 2014–2019, with a peak of three billion euros in 2016, but stabilizing afterwards at 300–800 million euros/year. The reduction in social welfare follows the loss of stock with considerable delay because the yearly harvest from the forest is only 1.8%. The reduction in social welfare for the downstream round wood market is estimated at €218 million in 2030, whereby consumers incur a welfare loss of €357 million, while producers experience a €139 million increase, due to higher wood prices. The societal impact is expected to extend to well beyond the time horizon of the analysis, and long after the invasion has stopped.

Conclusions/Significance

Pinewood nematode has large economic consequences for the conifer forestry industry in the EU. A change in spatial resolution affected the calculated directed losses by 24%, but did not critically affect conclusions.

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