Research Articles

Determining the relationship between invasive alien species density and a country’s socio-economic status

Gyan P. Sharma, Karen J. Esler, James N. Blignaut
South African Journal of Science | Vol 106, No 3/4 | a113 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajs.v106i3/4.113 | © 2010 Gyan P. Sharma, Karen J. Esler, James N. Blignaut | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 January 2010 | Published: 22 April 2010

About the author(s)

Gyan P. Sharma, Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Karen J. Esler, Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
James N. Blignaut, Department of Economics, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

We explored the relationships between various socio-economic variables and the prevalence and density of invasive alien species (IAS) on a global scale using country-level data sets. We did this by testing the hypothesis that the abundance and distribution of populations of IAS are correlated with various socio-economic indicators, with the direction of causality being that the state of IAS is determined by socio-economic conditions. We found a positive and statistically significant relationship between the prevalence and density of IAS and the human development index (HDI), the satisfaction with life index and the gross domestic product (GDP) among all the countries tested. Additionally, the density of IAS increased significantly with human-population density, total geographic area, GDP and HDI. We also found a positive relationship between the density of IAS and the top 10 road networks of the world. This provides some insight into the development of renewed policies and management strategies for invasive species across both continents and countries. We do caution, however, that the results are likely to be influenced by the sampling factor, whereby affluent countries have more resources to measure and monitor IAS than poorer countries and hence have better records of such, which then indicates a stronger relationship with the level of development.

Keywords

economic development; gross domestic product; human development index; invasion; management; road network; socio-economy

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