Ethical Implications of Invasive Species Management

Sofia Ramirez-Ekner, Dylan Rayner, Juliane Schulte, Elisa Escabia & Eric Notulu Mubuka

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


Invasive species are causing severe negative impacts on our ecosystems with introduction rates predicted to rise and accelerate due to increasing globalization and climate change (Clout Michael N., 2009).
Since non-native species introductions are primarily caused by humans, we are the principal solution to the problem as well (Mooney et al., 2005).
Invasive species management offers a range of strategies to deal with non-native species introductions, with the ultimate goal to restore the ecosystem to its old state. The main management goals found are eradication, containment, control or coexistence. These goals entail a variety of species- and case-specific applications and therefore offer controversial ethical considerations. This project aims to answer the question "What are the ethical considerations in invasive species management?". A definition of invasive species and a holistic explanation of their cause and impacts is given. Overall invasive species can have negative effects by predation and competition, decreasing native species, or by bringing diseases, genetic effects or habitat alterations. (Manchester and Bullock, 2000)
This leads to declining biodiversity and restricted ecosystem functions which unbalance the ecosystem equilibrium. Apart from direct environmental impacts, invasive species can as well cause indirect economic or social harm. The decision-making process for a management strategy is found commonly to be based on an invasive species risk assessment, which especially evaluates species abundance and distribution, and on a cost-benefit analysis. Even though eradication is the most preferred management goal, it is barely implemented due to its lacking effectiveness and feasibility. Hence control of the invasive species is the next option, which aims to keep the population at a manageable level. Three main trends in ethical approaches to invasive species management are anthropocentrism, ecocentrism, and biocentrism which emphasize different values, such as instrumental or intrinsic, given to the invasive species and the invaded ecosystem with its native species. By dissecting and comparing three different case studies of invasive species including the barred owl, the European rabbit and lionfish, ethical consideration concerning the management actions have been exposed. The findings have been captured in an ethical decision-making pathway which summarizes which considerations one should take in a decision-making process on a management strategy for an invasive species introduction. Based on the three different approaches, the pathway diagram can have different outcomes, emphasizing the distinct values of the ethical perspectives. Anthropocentrism has been found to be the most prevalent ethical approach to invasive species management, while biocentrism was the least favored approach.

UddannelserBasis - International Naturvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdatodec. 2018
Antal sider48
VejledereFarhan Khan