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Homeowners, taxpayers pay billions to fight invasive pests
Date:9/9/2011

ional trade has tremendous benefits, but it also has costs," said Juliann E. Aukema, the lead author and a scientist with the University of California at Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). "The regulations we currently have aren't keeping the pests out. We need to strengthen regulations and enforcement of them to protect our forests and our economy."

Wood-boring insects are not the only troublesome pests. Foliage feeders and sap feeders cause an estimated $410 million and $260 million, respectively, in lost residential property value each year.

And the costs will likely continue as there is a 32 percent risk that a new invader will enter the country in the next 10 years, exacting even more damage.

In addition to the three pests used for the study, researchers also used an exhaustive database of established non-native forest insects, and a novel modeling approach to arrive at their results. The authors have developed an analytical framework that can be used in any country where data are available. The framework can be easily adapted for estimating costs in other natural resource sectors, including fire, disease, and water quality, at scales from municipalities to nations.

Co-authors include Brian Leung and Corey Chivers from McGill University, Montreal; Ken Kovacs of the University of Minnesota; Kerry O. Britton, Susan J. Frankel, Robert G. Haight, Thomas P. Holmes and Andrew M. Liebhold from the U.S. Forest Service; Jeffrey Englin from Arizona State University, and Deborah G. McCullough from Michigan State University. The Nature Conservancy supported the group's work.

Von Holle joined UCF in 2007 after working at the Smithsonian's Environmental Research Center, Harvard University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Von Holle has a bachelor's of science in Ecology, Behavior & Evolution from the University of California at San Diego and a Ph.D. in Ecolog
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Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
zenaida.kotala@ucf.edu
407-823-6120
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

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