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Balanced Approach to Surveillance Reduces the Costs of Invasive Species Detection and Control

Photo of Gypsy moth trap used to detect new populations. Forest ServiceGypsy moth trap used to detect new populations. Forest ServiceSnapshot : New planning tool helps organizations make decisions on where and how much money to spend on invasive pests detection programs

Principal Investigators(s) :
Haight, Robert G. 
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 47


Nationwide, State and Federal agencies invest sizable budgets to seek and eradicate newly established pest populations of high concern, particularly nonnative forest insects and diseases such as the emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and oak wilt. With limited budgets, it is imperative to conserve money while providing an adequate level of protection. Forest Service scientists developed a new planning tool that helps organizations prioritize where to look for newly established invasive species populations and how much of the budget to spend on surveillance while minimizing the damage caused by invasive species.

Invasive species threaten ecosystem stability worldwide and inflict sizable economic damage, including expenditures for control and losses of market and nonmarket benefits. Enhanced efforts to detect and eradicate newly established species are critical to reducing their ecological and economic harms. Cost-effective detection programs must balance the intensity and cost of detection with the costs of eradicating newly detected populations. In addition, surveillance programs are usually applied in environments under continual invasion pressure where the number, size, and location of established populations are unknown before detection.

. Forest Service scientists and an international team of partners developed a new planning tool that accounts for these features of the decision and invasion environment. It helps design long-term surveillance programs for high-concern invasive species to minimize the total costs of preventing their long-term establishment and spread.

The tool helped evaluate the surveillance program for gypsy moth in California. They found that allocating surveillance effort across counties, in proportion to surveillance cost and gypsy moth establishment rate, could save the State more than $200,000 annually in surveillance and eradication expenditures.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • AgResearch Lincoln, New Zealand
  • Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Branisovska
  • Resources for the Future, Washington, DC

Program Areas