Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 1365–1378 | Cite as

When are eradication campaigns successful? A test of common assumptions

  • Therese Pluess
  • Ray Cannon
  • Vojtěch Jarošík
  • Jan Pergl
  • Petr Pyšek
  • Sven Bacher
Original Paper


Eradication aims at eliminating populations of alien organisms from an area. Since not all eradications are successful, several factors have been proposed in the literature (mainly by referring to case studies) to be crucial for eradication success, such as infestation size or reaction time. To our knowledge, however, no study has statistically evaluated which factors affect eradication success and attempted to determine their relative importance. We established a unique global dataset on 136 eradication campaigns against 75 species (invasive alien invertebrates, plants and plant pathogens) and statistically tested whether the following factors, proposed by others were significantly related to eradication success: (1) the reaction time between the arrival/detection of the organism and the start of the eradication campaign; (2) the spatial extent of the infestation; (3) the level of biological knowledge of the organism; and (4) insularity. Of these, only the spatial extent of the infestation was significantly related to the eradication outcome: local campaigns were more successful than regional or national campaigns. Reaction time, the level of knowledge and insularity were all unrelated to eradication success. Hence, some factors suggested as being crucial may be less important than previously thought, at least for the organisms tested here. We found no differences in success rates among taxonomic groups or geographic regions. We recommend that eradication measures should generally concentrate on the very early phase of invasions when infestations are still relatively small.


Eradication success Invasive species Contingency planning Pest Risk Analysis Invasive species management Biological invasions 



We thank Richard Baker, Andrea Battisti, Marc Kenis, Nico van Opstal, Marc Cadotte and four anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on previous drafts of this paper and Sylvie Augustin, Peter Baufeld, Annemarie Breukers, Eckehard Brockerhoff, Mark Bullians, Louise Dumouchel, Dominic Eyre, Ben Gasman, Salla Hannunen, Katrin Kaminski, Olia Karadjova, John Kean, Hella Kehlenbeck, William Larkin, Lorenzo Marini, Sharon Matthews-Berry, Anthemis Melifronidou, Petra Mueller, Melanie Newfield, Mary Orr, Grant Telford, Sunil Singh, Edoardo Petrucco Toffolo, Olivier Pruvost, Serge Quirici, Peter Reed, Cécile Robin, Muriel Suffert, Dirk Jan van der Gaag, Peter Whittle, and Annie Yart for providing information on eradication campaigns. Work on this paper was supported by the European Commission under grant agreement number KBBE-212459, 7th Framework Programme, project PRATIQUE: Enhancement of Pest Risk Analysis Techniques. V.J., J.P. and P.P. were further supported by grants 206/09/0563, 504/11/1028 (Czech Science Foundation), AV0Z60050516, IAA600050811 (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic), MSM0021620828 and LC06073 (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic). P.P. acknowledges support from a Praemium Academiae award from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Supplementary material

10530_2011_160_MOESM1_ESM.xls (72 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLS 72 kb)


  1. Baker RHA, Battisti A, Bremmer J, Kenis M, Mumford J, Petter F, Schrader G, Bacher S, De Barro P, Hulme PE, Karadjova O, Lansink AO, Pruvost O, Pyšek P, Roques A, Baranchikov Y, Sun JH (2009) PRATIQUE: a research project to enhance pest risk analysis techniques in the European Union. EPPO/OEPP Bull 39:87–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartlett PW (1979) Preventing the establishment of Colorado beetle in England and Wales. In: Ebbels DL, King JE (eds) Plant Health. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp 247–257Google Scholar
  3. Bates D, Maechler M, Dai B (2008) lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using S4 classes.
  4. Bogich TL, Liebhold AM, Shea K (2008) To sample or eradicate? A cost minimization model for monitoring and managing an invasive species. J Appl Ecol 45(4):1134–1142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bolker BM, Brooks ME, Clark CJ, Geange SW, Poulsen JR, Stevens MHH, White J-SS (2009) Generalized linear mixed models: a practical guide for ecology and evolution. Trends Ecol Evol 24(3):127–135PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bomford M, O’Brien P (1995) Eradication or control for vertebrate pests? Wildl Soc Bull 23(2):249–255Google Scholar
  7. Brockerhoff EG, Liebhold AM, Richardson B, Suckling DM (2010) Eradication of invasive forest insects: concepts, methods, costs and benefits. NZ J For Sci 40:S117–S135Google Scholar
  8. Burnham K, Anderson D (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference: a pratical information-theoric approach, 2nd edn. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Clout MN, Veitch CR (2002) Turning the tide of biological invasion: the potential for eradicating invasive species. IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, Gland and CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  10. Courchamp F, Chapuis J, Pascal M (2003) Mammal invaders on islands: impact, control and control impact. Biol Rev 78(3):347–383PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dahlsten DL, Garcia R (1989) Eradication of exotic pests: analysis with case histories. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  12. Davies CE, Moss D (2003) EUNIS habitat classification. European Topic Centre on Nature Protection and Biodiversity, ParisGoogle Scholar
  13. Epanchin-Niell RS, Hastings A (2010) Controlling established invaders: integrating economics and spread dynamics to determine optimal management. Ecol Lett 13(4):528–541PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. FAO (2004) Pest risk analysis for quarantine pests, including analysis of environmental risks and living modified organisms (ISPM 11). International standards for phytosanitary measures. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  15. FAO (2007) Glossary of phytosanitary terms (ISPM 5). International standards for phytosanitary measures. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  16. Gardener M, Atkinson R, Rentería J (2010) Eradications and people: lessons from the plant eradication program in Galapagos. Restor Ecol 18(1):20–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Genovesi P (2005) Eradications of invasive alien species in Europe: a review. Biol Invasions 7(1):127–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Genovesi P (2007) Limits and potentialities of eradication as a tool for addressing biological invasions. In: Nentwig W (ed) Biological invasions, ecological studies 193. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 385–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hauser CE, McCarthy MA (2009) Streamlining ‘search and destroy’: cost-effective surveillance for invasive species management. Ecol Lett 12(7):683–692PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Howald G, Donlan C, Galvan JP, Russell JC, Parkes J, Samaniego A, Wang Y, Veitch D, Genovesi P, Pascal M (2007) Invasive rodent eradication on islands. Conserv Biol 21(5):1258–1268PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hulme PE (2006) Beyond control: wider implications for the management of biological invasions. J Appl Ecol 43(5):835–847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hulme PE (2009) Trade, transport and trouble: managing invasive species pathways in an era of globalization. J Appl Ecol 46(1):10–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Keller R, Lodge D, Lewis M, Shogren J (2009) Bioeconomics of invasive species: integrating ecology, economics, policy, and management. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Kettunen M, Genovesi P, Gollasch S, Pagad S, Starfinger U, Brink Pt, Shine C (2009) Technical support to EU strategy on invasive alien species (IAS)—assessment of the impacts of IAS in Europe and the EU. Institute for European Environmental Policy, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  25. Leung B, Lodge D, Finnoff D, Shogren J, Lewis M, Lamberti G (2002) An ounce of prevention or a pound of cure: bioeconomic risk analysis of invasive species. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 269(1508):2407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Liebhold A, Bascompte J (2003) The Allee effect, stochastic dynamics and the eradication of alien species. Ecol Lett 6(2):133–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mack RN, Lonsdale WM (2002) Eradicating invasive plants–hard-won lessons from islands. In: Veitch CR, Clout M (eds) Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, Gland and Cambridge, pp 164–172Google Scholar
  28. Manchester SJ, Bullock JM (2000) The impacts of non-native species on UK biodiversity and the effectiveness of control. J Appl Ecol 37(5):845–864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mazerolle MJ (2011) AICcmodavg: model selection and multimodel inference based on (Q)AIC(c). R package version 1.18.
  30. Myers JH, Simberloff D, Kuris AM, Carey JR (2000) Eradication revisited: dealing with exotic species. Trends Ecol Evol 15(8):316–320PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nentwig W, Kühnel E, Bacher S (2010) A generic impact-scoring system applied to alien mammals in Europe. Conserv Biol 24:302–311PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Opstal NAV, Sunley R (2009) EPPO workshop on eradication, containment and contingency planning. EPPO Bull 39(2):143–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Panetta FD (2007) Evaluation of weed eradication programs: containment and extirpation. Divers Distrib 13(1):33–41Google Scholar
  34. Panetta F, Lawes R (2007) Evaluation of the Australian branched broomrape (Orobanche ramosa) eradication program. Weed Sci 55(6):644–651CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Panetta FD, Roger L (2005) Evaluation of weed eradication programs: the delimitation of extent. Divers Distrib 11(5):435–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pyšek P, Richardson D (2010) Invasive species, environmental change and management, and health. Annu Rev Environ Resour 35:25–55Google Scholar
  37. Regan TJ, McCarthy MA, Baxter PWJ, Panetta FD, Possingham HP (2006) Optimal eradication: when to stop looking for an invasive plant. Ecol Lett 9(7):759–766PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rejmánek M, Pitcairn MJ (2002) When is eradication of exotic pest plants a realistic goal? In: Veitch CR, Clout MN (eds) Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, Gland and Cambridge, pp 249–253Google Scholar
  39. Richards SA (2005) Testing ecological theory using the information-theoretic approach: examples and cautionary results. Ecology 86(10):2805–2814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Richards SA (2008) Dealing with overdispersed count data in applied ecology. J Appl Ecol 45(1):218–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Robertson BC, Gemmell NJ (2004) Defining eradication units to control invasive pests. J Appl Ecol 41(6):1042–1048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rout TM, Salomon Y, McCarthy MA (2009a) Using sighting records to declare eradication of an invasive species. J Appl Ecol 46(1):110–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rout TM, Thompson CJ, McCarthy MA (2009b) Robust decisions for declaring eradication of invasive species. J Appl Ecol 46(4):782–786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shine C, Kettunen M, Genovesi P, Essl F, Gollasch S, Rabitsch W, Scalera R, Starfinger U, Ten Brink P (2010) Assessment to support continued development of the EU strategy to combat invasive alien species. Final report for the European commission. Institute for European Environmental Policy, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  45. Simberloff D (2003a) Eradication-preventing invasions at the outset. Weed Sci 51(2):247–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Simberloff D (2003b) How much information on population biology is needed to manage introduced species? Conserv Biol 17(1):83–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Simberloff D (2008) We can stop the invasion juggernaut!—high- and low-tech success stories. Neobiota 7:5–18Google Scholar
  48. Simberloff D (2009) We can eliminate invasions or live with them. Successful management projects. Biol Invasions 11(1):149–157Google Scholar
  49. Simberloff D, Genovesi P, Pysek P, Campbell K (2011) Recognizing conservation success. Science 332(6028):419PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sosnowski MR, Fletcher JD, Daly AM, Rodoni BC, Viljanen-Rollinson SLH (2009) Techniques for the treatment, removal and disposal of host material during programmes for plant pathogen eradication. Plant Pathol 58(4):621–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Suckling DM, Barrington AM, Chhagan A, Stephens AEA, Burnip GM, Charles JG, Wee SL (2007) Eradication of the Australian painted apple moth Teia anartoides in New Zealand: trapping, inherited sterility, and male competitiveness. In: Vreysen MJB, Robinson AS, Hendrichs J (eds) Area-wide control of insect pests. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 603–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. R Development Core Team (2008) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R foundation for statistical computing, Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0, URL
  53. Tobin PC, Berec L, Liebhold AM (2011) Exploiting Allee effects for managing biological invasions. Ecol Lett 14:615–624PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vercken E, Kramer AM, Tobin PC, Drake JM (2011) Critical patch size generated by Allee effect in gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L.). Ecol Lett 14(2):179–186Google Scholar
  55. Vilà M, Basnou C, Pyšek P, Josefsson M, Genovesi P, Gollasch S, Nentwig W, Olenin S, Roques A, Roy D, Hulme PE (2009) How well do we understand the impacts of alien species on ecosystem services? A pan-European, cross-taxa assessment. Front Ecol Environ 8(3):135–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Winter M, Schweiger O, Klotz S, Nentwig W, Andriopoulos P, Arianoutsou M, Basnou C, Delipetrou P, Didžiulis V, Hejda M (2009) Plant extinctions and introductions lead to phylogenetic and taxonomic homogenization of the European flora. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106(51):21721–21725PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zuur A, Ieno E, Walker N, Saveliev A, Smith G (2009) Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Therese Pluess
    • 1
  • Ray Cannon
    • 2
  • Vojtěch Jarošík
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jan Pergl
    • 4
  • Petr Pyšek
    • 4
    • 3
  • Sven Bacher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Ecology and Evolution UnitUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland
  2. 2.The Food and Environment Research AgencyYorkUK
  3. 3.Department of Ecology, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPrague 2Czech Republic
  4. 4.Academy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicInstitute of BotanyPrůhoniceCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations