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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Introductions of Non-Indigenous Organisms: Research Needs to Evaluate Costsand Benefits

Authors
item Ewel, John - USDA FOREST SERVICE
item O'Dowd, Dennis - MONASH UNIV AUSTRALIA
item Bergelson, Joy - UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
item Daehler, Curtis - UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
item D'Antonio, Carla - UNIV. OF CA, BERKELEY
item Gómez, Luis Diego - OTS, COSTA RICA
item Gordon, Doria - NATURE CONSERVANCY OF FL
item Hobbs, Richard - CSIRO, PERTH, AUSTRALIA
item Holt, Alan - NATURE CONVERVANCY OF HI
item Hopper, Keith
item Hughes, Colin - UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, UK
item Lahart, March - S. FL. WATER MGT. DIST.
item Leakey, Roger - INST. OF TERRESTRIAL ECOL
item Lee, William - LANDCARE RES. DUNEDIN NZ
item Loope, Lloyd - USGS, MAKAWAO HAWAII
item Lorence, David - NATL. TROPICAL BOTANICAL
item Louda, Svata - UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
item Lugo, Ariel - USDA FOREST SERVICE
item Mcevoy, Peter - OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
item Richardson, David - UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN
item Vitousek, Peter - STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Bioscience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 12, 1999
Publication Date: August 19, 1999
Citation: Ewel, J.J., O'Dowd, D.J., Bergelson, J., Daehler, C.C., D'Antonio, C.M., Gómez, L., Gordon, D.R., Hobbs, R.J., Holt, A., Hopper, K.R., Hughes, C.E., Lahart, M., Leakey, R.B., Lee, W.G., Loope, L.L., Lorence, D.H., Louda, S.M., Lugo, A.E., Mcevoy, P.B., Richardson, D.M., Vitousek, P.M. 1999. Introductions of non-indigenous organisms: research needs to evaluate costsand benefits. Bioscience. 49:619-630.

Interpretive Summary: The potential benefits and risks of non-indigenous species are difficult to quantify, so it is not surprising that views diverge regarding the value of introductions. For example, some believe that the need to restore produc- tivity to degraded lands is so great that, in some places, concerns about potential invasions are frivolous. In contrast, others stress the biologic- -al, economic, and social costs of some introductions. This paper, a prod- uct of an international workshop on appropriate and inappropriate introduc- tions on non-indigenous organisms held in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, in June 1997, has two goals. First, the 21 participating scientists and managers, with expertise ranging from plant domestication to biological control to conservation biology, and including advocates and opponents of introduc- tions, sought to identify aspects of introductions for which there was general agreement. Second, discussions focused on how research can contribute to resolution of remaining differences. Consensus was reached on key areas of where research is needed and a set of specific research questions necessary to evaluate and address the issues.

Technical Abstract: This paper presents results of an international workshop on introductions of non-indigenous organisms held in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, in June 1997. Eight areas of consensus were identified: (1) Further introductions of non-indigenous organisms can provide maintenance of productivity in agricultural systems, environmental remediation , and new economic development; (2) Inadvertent introductions on non-indigenous organisms will continue in the future; (3) Benefits and costs of introductions are unevenly distributed among ecosystems and sectors of society; (4) Biological invasions are a natural process, but human activity has accelerated the rate of invasions. (5) Most invasions are irreversible; (6) Human alteration of ecosystems often increases the probability that introduced organisms will become invasive; (7) A time-lag of several decades or more may exist between the initial introduction of an organism and evidence that it is invasive and having unanticipated effects; (8) A strong predictor of invasiveness is whether the organism has been invasive elsewhere. Three specific needs were identified: (1) Development of a broadly accessible information system to support evaluation of organisms proposed for import; (2) Evaluation of potential impacts of introductions based on the attributes of the recipient environment as well as the introduced organism; (3) Organisms considered for introduction classified by their potential effects and proposed for regulation accordingly.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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