Predicting the cost of eradication for 41 Class 1 declared weeds in Queensland

F. Dane PanettaA, Steve CsurhesB, Anna MarkulaB and Martin Hannan-JonesB

A Alan Fletcher Research Station, Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, PO Box 36, Sherwood, Queensland 4075, Australia.
B Invasive Plants and Animals, Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, GPO Box 46, Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia.


The feasibility of state-wide eradication of 41 invasive plant taxa currently listed as ‘Class 1 declared pests’ under the Queensland Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 was assessed using the predictive model ‘WeedSearch’. Results indicated that all but one species (Alternanthera philoxeroides) could be eradicated, provided sufficient funding and labour were available.

Slightly less than one quarter (24.4%) (n = 10) of Class 1 weed taxa could be eradicated for less than $100 000 per taxon. An additional 43.9% (n = 18) could be eradicated for between $100 000 and $1M per taxon. Hence, 68.3% of Class 1 weed taxa (n = 28) could be eradicated for less than $1M per taxon. Eradication of 29.3% (n = 12) is predicted to cost more than $1M per taxon. Comparison of these WeedSearch outputs with either empirical analysis or results from a previous application of the model suggests that these costs may, in fact, be underestimates. Considering the likelihood that each weed will cost the state many millions of dollars in long-term losses (e.g. losses to primary production, environmental impacts and control costs), eradication seems a wise investment. Even where predicted costs are over $1M, eradication can still offer highly favourable benefit:cost ratios.

The total (cumulative) cost of eradication of all 41 weed taxa is substantial; for all taxa, the estimated cost of eradication in the first year alone is $8 618 000. This study provides important information for policy makers, who must decide where to invest public funding.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2011) 26 (2) 42-46.