Economic costs of invasive non-native species in urban areas: An underexplored financial drain

Gustavo Heringer*, Romina D Fernandez, Alok Bang, Marion Cordonnier, Ana Novoa, Bernd Lenzner, César Capinha, David Renault, David Roiz, Desika Moodley, Elena Tricarico, Kathrin Holenstein, Melina Kourantidou, Natalia I Kirichenko, José Ricardo Pires Adelino, Romina D Dimarco, Thomas W Bodey, Yuya Watari, Franck Courchamp

*Corresponding author for this work

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Urbanization is an important driver of global change associated with a set of environmental modifications that affect the introduction and distribution of invasive non-native species (species with populations transported by humans beyond their natural biogeographic range that established and are spreading in their introduced range; hereafter, invasive species). These species are recognized as a cause of large ecological and economic losses. Nevertheless, the economic impacts of these species in urban areas are still poorly understood. Here we present a synthesis of the reported economic costs of invasive species in urban areas using the global InvaCost database, and demonstrate that costs are likely underestimated. Sixty-one invasive species have been reported to cause a cumulative cost of US$ 326.7 billion in urban areas between 1965 and 2021 globally (average annual cost of US$ 5.7 billion). Class Insecta was responsible for >99 % of reported costs (US$ 324.4 billion), followed by Aves (US$ 1.4 billion), and Magnoliopsida (US$ 494 million). The reported costs were highly uneven with the sum of the five costliest species representing 80 % of reported costs. Most reported costs were a result of damage (77.3 %), principally impacting public and social welfare (77.9 %) and authorities-stakeholders (20.7 %), and were almost entirely in terrestrial environments (99.9 %). We found costs reported for 24 countries. Yet, there are 73 additional countries with no reported costs, but with occurrences of invasive species that have reported costs in other countries. Although covering a relatively small area of the Earth's surface, urban areas represent about 15 % of the total reported costs attributed to invasive species. These results highlight the conservative nature of the estimates and impacts, revealing important biases present in the evaluation and publication of reported data on costs. We emphasize the urgent need for more focused assessments of invasive species' economic impacts in urban areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170336
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 20. Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024. Published by Elsevier B.V.


  • Anthropogenic activity
  • Biological invasion
  • Economic impact
  • InvaCost
  • Urban ecosystem
  • Urbanization
  • Animals
  • Ecosystem
  • Humans
  • Insecta
  • Introduced Species


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