Evaluation - Socioeconomic


Melaleuca causes a reduction in ecological function, agricultural productivity, and recreational use value of lands occupied. In order to document the current management and socio-economic impacts of this species, surveys were mailed to 2,000 agricultural landowners, 285 park/preserve managers, and 5,000 randomly selected residents in the ten southernmost counties of Florida in 2004.

Survey results revealed that Melaleuca covered more than 620,000 acres of land and that professional managers (both park/preserve and agricultural) had treated approximately 86,731 acres during 2003. A benefit-cost analysis was conducted for the areas controlled in 2003. The benefits were estimated based on the values for restored ecological function of agricultural and park/preserve land, agricultural productivity and market value of agricultural land, the recreational use of park/preserve lands where Melaleuca controls had been implemented, and avoidance of costs connected with Melaleuca fueled fire control. Total benefits amounted to $23.3 million. The costs were derived from the residential and professional survey data along with TAME Melaleuca program costs which include the costs associated with this research. Total costs amounted to $13.2 million.

The resulting benefit-cost ratio (1.76) indicates that the benefits of Melaleuca removal were significantly greater than the costs, and that control efforts provided a net social benefit to society in the year 2003. Therefore, it is recommended that the policy stay in effect until the benefits no longer outweigh the costs.

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