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Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 461–475 | Cite as

Potential impact of invasive alien species on ecosystem services provided by a tropical forested ecosystem: a case study from Montserrat

  • Kelvin S.-H. Peh
  • Andrew Balmford
  • Jennifer C. Birch
  • Claire Brown
  • Stuart H. M. Butchart
  • James Daley
  • Jeffrey Dawson
  • Gerard Gray
  • Francine M. R. Hughes
  • Stephen Mendes
  • James Millett
  • Alison J. Stattersfield
  • David H. L. Thomas
  • Matt Walpole
  • Richard B. Bradbury
Original Paper

Abstract

Local stakeholders at the important but vulnerable Centre Hills on Montserrat consider that the continued presence of feral livestock (particularly goats and pigs) may lead to widespread replacement of the reserve’s native vegetation by invasive alien trees (Java plum and guava), and consequent negative impacts on native animal species. Since 2009, a hunting programme to control the feral livestock has been in operation. However long-term funding is not assured. Here, we estimate the effect of feral livestock control on ecosystem services provided by the forest to evaluate whether the biodiversity conservation rationale for continuation of the control programme is supported by an economic case. A new practical tool (Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment) was employed to measure and compare ecosystem service provision between two states of the reserve (i.e. presence and absence of feral livestock control) to estimate the net consequences of the hunting programme on ecosystem services provided by the forest. Based on this we estimate that cessation of feral livestock management would substantially reduce the net benefits provided by the site, including a 46 % reduction in nature-based tourism (from $419,000 to $228,000) and 36 % reduction in harvested wild meat (from $205,000 to $132,000). The overall net benefit generated from annual ecosystem service flows associated with livestock control in the reserve, minus the management cost, was $214,000 per year. We conclude that continued feral livestock control is important for maintaining the current level of ecosystem services provided by the reserve.

Keywords

Carbon Feral livestock Guava Harvested wild goods Java plum Nature-based tourism Non-native TESSA 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Lloyd Aymer, James Boatswain, Calvin Fenton, Eudora Fergus (National Trust of Montserrat), Frank Hobbs (Department of Lands and Survey), James Glenford, Jervaine Greenaway, Giovanna Massei (Food and Environment research Agency), Lloyd Martin, Steffinella Meade (Montserrat Utilities Limited), Deloris Mullings, Philemon Murrain (National Trust of Montserrat), Melissa O’Garro (Department of Agriculture), Ishwar Persad (Department of Tourism), Alistair Homer (DOE), Sugoto Roy (Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratory) for providing KSHP with field supports. We are also grateful to the Royal Montserrat Police Force for the permission to entry into the exclusion zone. Donal McCarthy and Steffen Oppel kindly provided comments on a draft of the paper. This project was funded by Cambridge Conservation Initiative (research grant PFPA.GAAB), UNEP-WCMC, RSPB, Anglia Ruskin University and BirdLife International. TESSA is available at http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/info/estoolkit.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelvin S.-H. Peh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew Balmford
    • 1
  • Jennifer C. Birch
    • 3
  • Claire Brown
    • 4
  • Stuart H. M. Butchart
    • 3
  • James Daley
    • 5
  • Jeffrey Dawson
    • 6
  • Gerard Gray
    • 5
  • Francine M. R. Hughes
    • 7
  • Stephen Mendes
    • 5
  • James Millett
    • 6
  • Alison J. Stattersfield
    • 3
  • David H. L. Thomas
    • 3
  • Matt Walpole
    • 4
  • Richard B. Bradbury
    • 6
  1. 1.Conservation Science Group, Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Institute for Life SciencesUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  3. 3.BirdLife International, Wellbrook CourtCambridgeUK
  4. 4.United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring CentreCambridgeUK
  5. 5.Department of EnvironmentMinistry of Agriculture, Land, Housing and the EnvironmentBrades, MontserratUK
  6. 6.RSPB Centre for Conservation ScienceRSPBThe Lodge, SandyUK
  7. 7.Animal and Environment Research Group, Department of Life SciencesAnglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK

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