Entrepreneurial Competitions to Control Invasive Species
By Ian Buchta
Commercializing certain invasive species creates business opportunities while controlling harmful populations, if it respects population biology(1). To exert effective control, harvest efforts must outstrip a population’s reproductive potential and solely aim to reach eradication, without conflicting with legislation or creating a cultural identity around the species(2).
To promote enterprises that truly control invading populations, an entrepreneurial competition cooperatively judged by scientists and business leaders should be established to attract new talent and ideas. Scientific representation would ensure plans could viably control or eradicate invaders, instead of simply building an industry around the species. Winning proposals would receive funding to be implemented. The result would be a short-term venture aimed for profit margins by radically reducing the target population. Grants or crowd funding could subsidize the cost of the venture and successful launches could return a percentage of profits to continue the competition.
A business could reduce populations until their costs exceeded their revenue, where a government agency could remove the remaining individuals. The entrepreneur could exit with profits, or replicate their venture on another species. Research into a fund to promote self-funding, short-term business plans may provide an ecologically feasible method to eradicate certain invasive species.