Invasive species management will benefit from social impact assessment
- Invasive species management aims to prevent or mitigate the impacts of introduced species but management interventions can themselves generate social impacts that must be understood and addressed.
- Established approaches for addressing the social implications of invasive species management can be limited in effectiveness and democratic legitimacy. More deliberative, participatory approaches are emerging that allow integration of a broader range of socio-political considerations. Nevertheless, there is a need to ensure that these are rigorous applications of social science.
- Social impact assessment offers a structured process of identifying, evaluating and addressing social costs and benefits. We highlight its potential value for enabling meaningful public participation in planning and as a key component of integrated assessments of management options.
- Policy implications. As invasive species management grows in scope and scale, social impact assessment provides a rigorous process for recognising and responding to social concerns. It could therefore produce more democratic, less conflict-prone and more effective interventions.