Quantifying the economic impacts of invasive species is an essential step in developing and prioritizing invasive species management. In particular, kudzu, Pueraria Montana (Lour.) Merr. is an aggressive and non-native vine that not only causes ecological damage and reduces biodiversity, but can have multiple economic consequences such as loss of timber value and volume. Using current infestation locations in Oklahoma, southcentral USA, a Monte Carlo simulation was run to estimate the natural as well as anthropogenic spread rate of kudzu in the next five years. Simulations were supplemented with an economic impact analysis within the Impact Analysis for PLANing (IMPLAN) platform. To account for economic loss in the forest product industry, a replacement cost approach with a sensitivity analysis was conducted. Occurrence data collections revealed that current kudzu populations are already established in Oklahoma forests. The results demonstrate that by year five, total industry output could be reduced by $167.9 million, which will influence 780 jobs in the most extreme case scenario. The predicted economic loss due to kudzu expansion could act as an incentive for appropriate management practices and plans to be implemented.
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This work was in part supported by the South Central Climate Science Center and the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University. This work was in part supported by the South Central Climate Science Center and the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University.
© 2020 Harron et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.