Biological Invasions

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 45–59 | Cite as

Characterised and Projected Costs of Nonindigenous Species in Canada

  • Robert I Colautti
  • Sarah A Bailey
  • Colin D. A. van Overdijk
  • Keri Amundsen
  • Hugh J. MacIsaac


Biological invasions by nonindigenous species (NIS) can have adverse effects on economically important goods and services, and sometimes result in an ‘invisible tax’ on natural resources (e.g. reduced yield). The combined economic costs of NIS may be significant, with implications for environmental policy and resource management; yet economic impact assessments are rare at a national scale. Impacts of nuisance NIS may be direct (e.g. loss of hardwood trees) or indirect (e.g. alteration of ecosystem services provided by growing hardwoods). Moreover, costs associated with these effects may be accrued to resources and services with clear ‘market’ values (e.g. crop production) and to those with more ambiguous, ‘non-market’ values (e.g. aesthetic value of intact forest). We characterised and projected economic costs associated with nuisance NIS in Canada, through a combination of case-studies and an empirical model derived from 21 identified effects of 16 NIS. Despite a severe dearth of available data, characterised costs associated with ten NIS in Canadian fisheries, agriculture and forestry totalled $187 million Canadian (CDN) per year. These costs were dwarfed by the ‘invisible tax’ projected for sixteen nuisance NIS found in Canada, which was estimated at between $13.3 and $34.5 billion CDN per year. Canada remains highly vulnerable to new nuisance NIS, but available manpower and financial resources appear insufficient to deal with this problem.


agriculture Canada damage costs economic impact fisheries forestry invasive species invisible tax nuisance NIS nonindigenous 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert I Colautti
    • 1
  • Sarah A Bailey
    • 1
  • Colin D. A. van Overdijk
    • 1
  • Keri Amundsen
    • 1
  • Hugh J. MacIsaac
    • 1
  1. 1.Great Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

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