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Beyond the Lamppost: Optimal Prevention and Control of the Brown Treesnake in Hawaii

Kimberly Burnett (), Sean D’Evelyn, Brooks Kaiser, Porntawee Nantamanasikarn and James Roumasset
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Sean D’Evelyn: Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Porntawee Nantamanasikarn: Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Sean Thomas D'Evelyn

No 200714, Working Papers from University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics

Abstract: In this paper, an integrated model for the prevention and control of an invasive species is developed. The generality of the model allows it to be used for both existing and potential threats to the system of interest. The deterministic nature of arrivals in the model allows for a clear examination of the tradeoffs inherent when choosing between prevention and control strategies. We illuminate how optimal expenditure paths change in response to various biological and economic parameters for the case of the Brown treesnake in Hawaii. Results suggest that it is more advantageous to spend money finding the small population of snakes as they occur than attempting to prevent all future introductions. Like the drunk that looks for his keys only where the light is, public policy may fail to look “beyond the lamppost” for snakes that have already arrived but have not yet been detected. Actively searching for a potential population of snakes rather than waiting for an accidental discovery may save Hawaii tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in future damages, interdiction expenditures, and control costs.

Keywords: invasive species; brown tree snake; Boiga irregularis; prevention and control; Hawaii (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q20 Q28 Q51 Q57 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 19 pages
Date: 2007-07-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env
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Downloads: (external link) First version, 2007 (application/pdf)

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