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


Date of this Version

March 2004


Published by Journal for Nature Conservation 12 (2004) 143—147.


Swine (Sus scrofa) have been introduced into many natural habitats throughout the world, and they have adversely affected the environment in most of those places. Basin marshes are unique, but dwindling ecosystems in Florida that are especially vulnerable to damage by feral swine. We estimated the amount of swine damage to the last remnant of a basin marsh system in Savannas Preserve State Park (SPSP), and to ecotones within the marsh. We also applied an economic valuation method for the swine damage that was based on the dollar amounts that wetland regulators have allowed permit applicants to spend in mitigation attempts to replace lost wetland resources. We found that swine damaged 19% of the exposed portion of the basin marsh in our study area. Seventy percent of the sample sites showed swine damage at the shoreline and 58% showed damage at the interface with the upland vegetation of the adjacent mesic flatwoods. The area damaged within our study site alone was valued between $1,238,760 and $4,036,290. These damage valuation estimates were considered conservative, because it was impossible to incorporate values for such contingencies as swine impact to state and federally listed endangered plants in SPSP, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. We also could not extrapolate an economic quantity to describe the threat posed by the swine inhabiting SPSP as a reservoir for transmission of diseases to domestic livestock.