Weighing consequences of action and inaction in invasive insect management

Paul K. Abram, Michelle T. Franklin, Jacques Brodeur, Jenny S. Cory, Aysha McConkey, Kris A.G. Wyckhuys, George E. Heimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The rate of insect invasions continues to accelerate, driven by global trade, climate change, and land use modification. Self-sustaining “public interest” tools such as importation biological control can be powerful ways to mitigate the impacts of insect invasions. However, these interventions can fall prey to counterproductive risk-averse attitudes if their risks are not balanced with the consequences of inaction. Failing to intervene can incur opportunity costs and allow the direct and indirect negative effects of invasive species to accumulate over time. Here, we argue for the explicit consideration of both risks and benefits, expressed in a broad range of currencies, for existing and emerging self-sustaining interventions such as biological control and genetic interventions. An appropriate level of focus on not only the risks of interventions, but also on the multi-faceted risks of inaction, could help to encourage responsible implementation of invasive insect management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-793
Number of pages12
JournalOne Earth
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 17 2024

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© 2024


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