Expected timber-based economic impacts of a wood-boring beetle (Acanthotomicus Sp.) That kills American sweetgum

Andres Susaeta, José R. Soto, Damian C. Adams, Jiri Hulcr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


American sweetgum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua L. [Altingiaceae]) in China are being killed by a newly discovered wood-boring beetle "sweetgum inscriber" (Acanthotomicus sp.). It has not been detected in the United States yet, but given the extent of trade with Asian countries, eventual arrival of this beetle is a serious concern. The American sweetgum is one of the main hardwood species in the southern United States, and provides several economic and ecological benefits to society. We present the first economic analysis of the potential damage from sweetgum inscriber (SI) to timber-based land values in the southern United States. We modeled economic impacts for a range of feasible SI arrival rates that reflect policy interventions: 1) no efforts to prevent arrival (scenario A, once every 14 and 25 yr), 2) partial prevention by complying with ISPM 15 standards (scenario B, once every 33 and 100 yr), and 3) total prevention of arrival (scenario C, zero transmission of SI). Our results indicated much lower land values for sweetgum plantations without the prevention on SI establishment (scenario A, US$1,843-US$4,383ha-1) compared with partial prevention (scenario B, US$5,426-US$8,050ha-1) and total eradication of SI (scenario C, US$9,825). Across the region, upper bound timber-based economic losses to plantation owners is US$151.9 million (US$4.6 million annually)-An estimate that can help inform policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1942-1945
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Acanthotomicus sp.
  • American sweetgum
  • Invasive species
  • Land expectation value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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