Economic aspects of post-border weed risk management


Correspondence: Susan M. Hester, UNE Business School, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.




Decision-making in weed management involves consideration of limited budgets, long time horizons, conflicting priorities, and as a result, trade-offs. Economics provides tools that allow these issues to be addressed and is thus integral to management of the risks posed by weeds. One of the critical issues in weed risk management during the early stages of an invasion concerns feasibility of eradication. We briefly review how economics may be used in weed risk management, concentrating on this management strategy.




A range of innovative studies that investigate aspects of weed risk management are reviewed. We show how these could be applied to newly invading weeds, focussing on methods for investigating eradication feasibility. In particular, eradication feasibility is analysed in terms of cost and duration of an eradication programme, using a simulation model based on field-derived parameter values for chromolaena, Chromolaena odorata.


The duration of an eradication programme can be reduced by investing in progressively higher amounts of search effort per hectare, but increasing search area will become relatively more expensive as search effort increases. When variation in survey and control success is taken into account, increasing search effort also reduces uncertainty around the required duration of the eradication programme.

Main conclusions

Economics is integral to the management of the risks posed by weeds. Decision analysis, based on economic principles, is now commonly used to tackle key issues that confront weed managers. For eradication feasibility, duration and cost of a weed eradication programme are critical components; the dimensions of both factors can usefully be estimated through simulation.