Main content area

Public preferences for controlling an invasive species in public and private spaces

Rolfe, John, Windle, Jill
Land use policy 2014 v.41 pp. 1-10
biodiversity, case studies, ecosystem services, fire ants, households, indigenous species, invasive species, land use, models, parks, politics, schools, shrublands, Australia
Discrete choice experiments have been used in this case study to assess community benefits for the control of red imported fire ants, an aggressive ant species that were introduced by accident in 2001 to Brisbane, Australia. This invasive species could have substantial impacts on agricultural production, biodiversity, ecosystem services, infrastructure and communities. Values for avoiding impacts on three particular land uses have been assessed in this study with discrete choice experiments. The results indicated that on a per hectare basis, the value estimates to avoid infestation in public areas (schools and parks), were much higher than for private areas (housing) or natural bushland areas (protected native vegetation). There were high levels of support for eradication rather than containment strategies, despite the additional costs involved. The use of both random parameters logit and latent class models demonstrates that there is a significant heterogeneity in preferences and values for controlling or eradicating the invasive species, indicating that it may be challenging to gain and maintain political support for management options, particularly if these involve large costs or inconvenience to households.