Global threat to agriculture from invasive species

TitleGlobal threat to agriculture from invasive species
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPaini, D. R., Sheppard A. W., Cook D. C., De Barro P. J., Worner S. P., & Thomas M. B.
JournalProc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Date Published2016
KeywordsAnnual Report 2015-16, Fungal pathogens, Insect pests, Nis, Trade

Invasive species present significant threats to global agriculture, although how the magnitude and distribution of the threats vary between countries and regions remains unclear. Here, we present an analysis of almost 1,300 known invasive insect pests and pathogens, calculating the total potential cost of these species invading each of 124 countries of the world, as well as determining which countries present the greatest threat to the rest of the world given their trading partners and incumbent pool of invasive species. We find that countries vary in terms of potential threat from invasive species and also their role as potential sources, with apparently similar countries sometimes varying markedly depending on specifics of agricultural commodities and trade patterns. Overall, the biggest agricultural producers (China and the United States) could experience the greatest absolute cost from further species invasions. However, developing countries, in particular, Sub-Saharan African countries, appear most vulnerable in relative terms. Furthermore, China and the United States represent the greatest potential sources of invasive species for the rest of the world. The analysis reveals considerable scope for ongoing redistribution of known invasive pests and highlights the need for international cooperation to slow their spread.