Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Urbana, Illinois » Global Change and Photosynthesis Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #393484

Research Project: Resilience of Integrated Weed Management Systems to Climate Variability in Midwest Crop Production Systems

Location: Global Change and Photosynthesis Research

Title: Estimating local eradication costs for invasive Miscanthus populations throughout the eastern and midwestern United States

item LOWRY, CAROLYN - Pennsylvania State University
item MATLAGA, DAVID - Susquehanna University
item West, Natalie
item Williams, Martin
item DAVIS, ADAM - University Of Illinois

Submitted to: Invasive Plant Science and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/11/2022
Publication Date: 7/29/2022
Citation: Lowry, C., Matlaga, D., West, N.M., Williams II, M.M., Davis, A. 2022. Estimating local eradication costs for invasive Miscanthus populations throughout the eastern and midwestern United States. Invasive Plant Science and Management. 15(3):115-121.

Interpretive Summary: Two Miscanthus species cultivated in the U.S., giant Miscanthus hybrid and eulaliagrass, can escape and become invasive in surrounding habitats. This research quantified the time and cost to eradicate the two weeds from research plots where they were previously established. These parameters were combined with maps of Eulaliagrass throughout the U.S. to estimate the cost to eradicate all documented feral Eulaliagrass populations. We found the cost of eradicating the weed from the U.S. ranges from $28 to $64 million. The work enables more empirically informed decisions on the potential costs and benefits that must be considered in large-scale cultivation of Miscanthus.

Technical Abstract: Several Miscanthus species are cultivated in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, and feral populations can displace the native plant community and potentially negatively affect ecosystem processes. The monetary cost of eradicating feral Miscanthus populations is unknown, but quantifying eradication costs will inform decisions on whether eradication is a feasible goal and should be considered when totaling the economic damage of invasive species. We managed experimental populations of eulaliagrass (Miscanthus sinensis Andersson) and the giant Miscanthus hybrid (Miscanthus × giganteus J.M. Greef & Deuter ex Hodkinson & Renvoize) in three floodplain forest and three old field sites in central Illinois with the goal of eradication. We recorded the time invested in eradication efforts and tracked survival of Miscanthus plants over a 5-yr period, then estimated the costs associated with eradicating these Miscanthus populations. Finally, we used these estimates to predict the total monetary costs of eradicating existing M. sinensis populations reported on EDDMapS. Miscanthus populations in the old field sites were harder to eradicate, resulting in an average of 290% greater estimated eradication costs compared with the floodplain forest sites. However, the cost and time needed to eradicate Miscanthus populations were similar between Miscanthus species. On-site eradication costs ranged from $390 to $3,316 per site (or $1.3 to $11 m-2) in the old field sites, compared with only $85 to $547 (or $0.92 to $1.82 m-2) to eradicate populations within the floodplain forests, with labor comprising the largest share of these costs. Using our M. sinensis eradication cost estimates in Illinois, we predict that the potential costs to eradicate populations reported on EDDMapS would range from $10 to $37 million, with a median predicted cost of $22 million. The monetary costs of eradicating feral Miscanthus populations should be weighed against the benefits of cultivating these species to provide a comprehensive picture of the relative costs and benefits of adding these species to our landscapes.