According to GISP, the damage wrought by invasive species worldwide incurs yearly costs that top $1.4 trillion; the U.S. spends about $120 billion every year to control the populations of over 800 invasive species. Countries in Asia and Africa, in which so-called second generation biofuel crops are being introduced, lack the necessary resources to adequately contain invasive species.A plant like Arundo donax (the giant reed), which has been proposed as a potential biofuel crop, is already invasive in many regions of North and Central America. Not only it is naturally flammable, but it also consumes large quantities fo water -- roughly 2,000 liters per standing meter of growth. Or take oil palm, for example: The African species, which has been recommended for use as a source of biodiesel, has spread like wildfire in certain parts of Brazil -- turning diverse forest habitats into homogeneous fields of palms.
While the report isn't intended to discourage all biofuel production, it is meant to serve as a useful reference for policymakers and businesses considering their use. It lists the following as potential risk-mitigating strategies:
* Risk assessments - use of formal risk assessment protocols to evaluate the risk of invasion
* Benefit/cost analysis - presenting business plans that can show real benefits before funds are made available
* Selection of native/low-risk species - creation of incentives for the use of species that pose the lowest risk
* Risk management - includes monitoring and contingency planning, such as control measures when an outbreak occurs