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Mapping the economic loss of ecosystem services caused by the invasive plant species Antigonon leptopus on the Dutch Caribbean Island of St. Eustatius
Huisman, S.; Jesse, W.; Ellers, J.; van Beukering, P. (2021). Mapping the economic loss of ecosystem services caused by the invasive plant species Antigonon leptopus on the Dutch Caribbean Island of St. Eustatius. One Ecosystem 6: e72881. https://dx.doi.org/10.3897/oneeco.6.e72881
In: One Ecosystem. Pensoft Publishers: Bulgaria. e-ISSN 2367-8194, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Huisman, S.
  • Jesse, W.
  • Ellers, J.
  • van Beukering, P.

Abstract
    Invasive species are a worldwide threat to biodiversity, especially on Caribbean islands. Through their impact on the structure and functioning of ecosystems, they also affect ecosystem services. Therefore, invasive species can have profound socio-economic effects. On the Dutch Caribbean Island of St. Eustatius, the invasive perennial vine Coralita is present on roughly 33% of the Island. While ecological damage is evident, effective management strategies are still lacking. This study links the ecological, cultural and societal effects of the invasion to the economy of the Island by estimating the ecosystem service losses due to Coralita in monetary value. We have spatially assessed the economic value of five main ecosystem services (tourism, non-use value, carbon sequestration, archaeology and local cultural and recreational value) to the different habitats on the Island and estimated the loss of these values under three scenarios of Coralita cover: 0%, 3% and 36% dominant cover. The baseline scenario of 0% demonstrated a total ecosystem service value of $2.7 million per year, concentrated on the Quill volcano. The 3% and 36% scenario showed a yearly loss of $39,804 and $576,704, respectively, with the largest losses located on the northern and eastern slopes of the Quill. These areas should be prioritised for management and the known potential gain per area enables choice of strategy, based on cost-benefit considerations. To reduce further economic loss by Coralita, we urgently advise an immediate management strategy and ongoing research into eradication and restoration methods.

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