Environmental Management

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 80–93 | Cite as

Invasive Alien Species in Switzerland: Awareness and Preferences of Experts and the Public

  • Xenia JungeEmail author
  • Marcel Hunziker
  • Nicole Bauer
  • Arne Arnberger
  • Roland Olschewski


Invasive alien species (IAS) can cause ecological and economic damages. To reduce or prevent these damages different management and prevention strategies aim to impede new establishments or a further spreading of IAS. However, for these measures to be successful, public knowledge of risks and threats of IAS as well as public support for eradication measures are important prerequisites. We conducted a survey to examine (i) public and experts’ awareness and knowledge of IAS, (ii) their preferences for six invasive plant species and (iii) their preferences for and trade-offs among management alternatives in Switzerland. In addition, a choice experiment was applied to analyse preferences concerning the intensity, priority and costs of interventions. Both, the Swiss public and the experts have a preference for intervening against invasive alien species. However, the public and the experts differ in their priorities of combatting particular species, resulting in a different ranking of intervention necessities. Further, differences were found in the willingness to pay for interventions between the German-, French- and Italian-speaking parts of Switzerland. The results suggest that a higher problem awareness increases the willingness to pay for countermeasures. We conclude that education programs or information campaigns are promising instruments to raise public awareness and to avoid conflicts concerning the management of invasive alien species.

Highlights “Invasive Alien Species in Switzerland: Awareness and Preferences of Experts and the Public”

  • The public and experts in Switzerland approve the management of invasive neophytes

  • Willingness to pay estimates for the management of invasive alien species (IAS) vary between 7 and 38 Mio. Swiss Francs (SFr.)/year

  • Ecological aspects in IAS management receive a higher priority than economic aspects

  • However, only 40% of the public know the term IAS

  • Providing information on the threats of IAS increases awareness and reduces aesthetic preferences for the respective species


Choice experiment Willingness to pay Exotic species IAS Environmental management Attitudes 



We thank the Competence Center Environment and Sustainability of the ETH Domain CCES for financial support. In addition, we thank the experts for their support and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xenia Junge
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marcel Hunziker
    • 1
  • Nicole Bauer
    • 1
  • Arne Arnberger
    • 3
  • Roland Olschewski
    • 1
  1. 1.Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Dialog NUsterSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute for Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning (ILEN)University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences ViennaViennaAustria

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