Unintended biological invasions: Does risk vary by trading partner? Academic Article uri icon


  • International trade is the primary conduit for unintentional and damaging species introductions. But biogeographic heterogeneity, and differences in historical trade exposure across trade partners suggest that not all imports are equally risky. We develop an analytical model linking exotic species introductions and discoveries to trade volumes. The model is estimated using a novel historical data set on global trade and species introductions by region. Our estimates support theoretical predictions that trade from different regions poses different risks and that the cumulative number of introductions from a region is a concave function of imports. For each trade region we then calculate the marginal and cumulative invasion risk from additional trade. Simple volume restrictions on imports to reduce NIS introductions are not advisable based on coarse cost-benefit calculations.

publication date

  • November 2007