Date of this Version
Human–Wildlife Interactions 5(2):306–314, Fall 2011.
It has become essential for groups involved with wildlife policy formulation and decision making to examine the economic benefits and costs derived from the management of nuisance wildlife species. Beavers (Castor canadensis) in Mississippi have seen significant population fluctuations over the last 150 years as their status has changed from a game species to protected species to nuisance species. The objectives of this study were to assess the beaver-caused economic impacts to the timber industry in Mississippi and estimate the damages avoided due to Mississippi’s Beaver Control Assistance Program (BCAP) activities from 2005 to 2009. The total BCAP costs averaged $1.1 million annually over the study period. Analysis of 6 combinations of possible timber savings provided average annual direct program benefits that ranged from $25 million to $57 million. To estimate the potential secondary impact to the regional economy from these timber savings, an input-output model was utilized. The additional economic activity created in the region ranged from $19 million to $42 million. Using these estimated values of potential beaver damage, all calculated benefit-cost ratios indicated that BCAP was an economically efficient expenditure of resources. The economic methodology used herein can be applied to other integrated pest management programs to assess the economic efficiency of expenditures.