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Open Access Publications from the University of California

On agricultural protection and exotic species introductions


Unintentional introductions of non-indigenous plants, animals, and microbes cause significant ecological and agricultural crop damage worldwide. There is an emerging empirical link between international trade and the frequency and damage of such introductions. We explore the effects of domestic agricultural protection on exotic species introductions. In contrast to the commonly held belief that agricultural protection harms the environment, we show that increasing agricultural protection may reduce ecological damage from exotic species introductions. Contrary to common policy, we demonstrate that an estimate of pecuniary damage from crop loss is an inappropriate proxy for ecological damage from exotic species introductions.

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