Invasive alien species as simultaneous benefits and burdens: trends, stakeholder perceptions and management

Melina Kourantidou*, Phillip J. Haubrock, Ross N. Cuthbert, Thomas W. Bodey, Bernd Lenzner, Rodolphe E. Gozlan, Martin A. Nuñez, Jean Michel Salles, Christophe Diagne, Franck Courchamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


In addition to being a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, biological invasions also have profound impacts on economies and human wellbeing. However, the threats posed by invasive species often do not receive adequate attention and lack targeted management. In part, this may result from different or even ambivalent perceptions of invasive species which have a dual effect for stakeholders—being simultaneously a benefit and a burden. For these species, literature that synthesizes best practice is very limited, and analyses providing a comprehensive understanding of their economics are generally lacking. This has resulted in a critical gap in our understanding of the underlying trade-offs surrounding management efforts and approaches. Here, we explore qualitative trends in the literature for invasive species with dual effects, drawing from both the recently compiled InvaCost database and international case studies. The few invasive species with dual roles in InvaCost provide evidence for a temporal increase in reporting of costs, but with benefits relatively sporadically reported alongside costs. We discuss methods, management, assessment and policy frameworks dedicated to these species, along with lessons learned, complexities and persisting knowledge gaps. Our analysis points at the need to enhance scientific understanding of those species through inter- and cross-disciplinary efforts that can help advance their management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1905-1926
Number of pages21
JournalBiological Invasions
Early online date12 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the French National Research Agency (ANR-14-CE02-0021) and the BNP-Paribas Foundation Climate Initiative for funding the Invacost project that allowed the construction of the InvaCost database. Furthermore, the authors wish to thank Dr. Nigel Taylor for useful discussions that informed the conceptualization of this paper. The present work was conducted following a workshop funded by the AXA Research Fund Chair of Invasion Biology and is part of the AlienScenario project funded by BiodivERsA and Belmont-Forum call 2018 on biodiversity scenarios (BMBF/PT DLR 01LC1807C). CD is funded by AlienScenarios and RC by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.


  • Benefits
  • Conflict
  • Costs
  • Double-edge invasive alien species
  • InvaCost
  • Management
  • Policies
  • Trade-offs


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