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Assessing the Costs of Priority HISC Species in Hawai‘i

Hawai‘i spends millions of dollars annually to protect its unique ecosystems from invasive species that have the potential to cause billions of dollars in damages if left unchecked

Using data on past Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council (HISC)-funded projects over the past decade, UHERO compiled a list of top-five priority HISC species, which included miconia, coqui frog, little fire ant, fountain grass, and axis deer. Information on statewide management expenditures and realized damages for each species was then collected for the period 2011-2015. This historical data was combined with potential damage estimates extrapolated from existing studies to calculate maximum potential future damages for each of the priority invasive species. Preliminary results suggest that annual realized damages exceeded expenditures for coqui frog, fountain grass, and little fire ant, but not for axis deer and miconia. However, the value of management is largely captured by avoided future damages. For all species, the present value of maximum potential damages largely outweighs present value management expenditures, often by several orders of magnitude.

Supported by: Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council




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