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Economic Savings from Invasive Plant Prevention

Sheley, Roger L., Sheley, Jordan L., Smith, Brenda S.
Weed science 2015 v.63 no.1 pp. 296-301
cost effectiveness, crop losses, econometric models, forage, forage production, income, interest (finance), invasive species, livestock, plants (botany), prediction, prices, seeds, weed science
Prevention programs are often assumed to be the most cost-effective method for managing invasive plants. However, there is very little information available about economic and biological factors that determine the forage benefits resulting from prevention programs. We developed an easy to use economic model to assess potential savings in livestock forage that might result from implementing prevention programs. The model can be used to determine potential loss in forage production caused by invasive plants and to estimate potential income savings by preventing invasive plant infestations. The model compares a prediction of populations with and without a prevention program using a logistic growth function. Animal unit month (AUM) price and interest rates are the primary economic input variables. The primary biological input variables are amount of invasive plant utilization, size of the initial infestation, and the spread rate with and without prevention. Our model suggests that as the AUM price increases and/or the interest rate decreases, the total savings increases for each AUM that was protected through a prevention program. The model also shows savings per AUM increases as the size of the initial infestation decreases, suggesting that prevention should focus on eliminating seed sources and seed production early in the program. Using our model inputs, the savings per AUM was about $9.20 for each percent reduction in spread rate over 100 yr.