U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Ecological Economics 211 (2023) 107875



U.S. government work


Invasive alien species (IAS) threaten world biodiversity, ecosystem services, and economic welfare. While existing literature has characterized the optimal control of an established IAS, it has not considered how research and development (R&D) into new removal methods or technologies can affect management decisions and costs over time. R&D can lower the costs of control in a management plan and creates an intertemporal trade-off between quick but costly control and gradual but cheaper removal over time. In this paper, we develop and solve a continuous time dynamic optimization model to study how investment in R&D influences the optimal control of an established invasive species. After characterizing the dynamic model solution, we solve the model numerically to study the benefits from R&D in the management of the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), and explore how optimal solutions vary across economic and biological conditions. We find that the introduction of R&D significantly reduces overall costs of IAS and management and that the cost reductions substantially outweigh research expenditure. These results imply that policymakers seeking to control IAS should consider R&D as a vital component of cost effective control strategies.