Controlling Rhododendron ponticum in British Isles: An economic analysis

Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz, Charles Perrings, Mark Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


What resources should be committed to the control of invasive species? This study is based on a survey of nature conservation and forestry authorities, wildlife trusts and private landowners which investigated the extent of the ecological and economic impacts of the invasive non-native plant Rhododendron ponticum in the British Isles. There are data on 52,000 ha of land affected by R. ponticum, more than 30,000 ha of it in nature reserves. For nearly all nature reserves, displacement of native species and habitat changes were both reported. In 2001, respondents controlled 1275 ha of R. ponticum at a cost of £670,924. To test the optimality of this, we apply a model of social expenditure. The external costs of R. ponticum control are estimated from the probability that it will spread to contiguous sites and the damage done on invaded sites. These are then used to calculate the socially optimal level of expenditure on R. ponticum control, and the funding gap it identified by comparing the result with current levels of expenditure. The results suggest that a socially optimal level of control effort requires a significant increase in social funding for R. ponticum control, although the size of the increase varies between landholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-332
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Control costs
  • External costs
  • Invasive species
  • Rhododendron ponticum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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