The University of Arizona is one of seven universities selected nationally to receive a total purse of $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the economic implications of preventing, controlling, or eradicating invasive pests and diseases.

The UA will receive $119,000 to develop a web-based decision support system that enables government agencies and private land managers to provide pest information and identify cost-effective strategies for managing buffelgrass in Arizona, focusing on the desert-urban interface.

Buffelgrass is a non-native perennial grass introduced for livestock forage, but has become invasive and contributes to fire hazards. The methods employed in this study can be applied to other invasive species.

“The control of invasive plant pests and foreign animal diseases is a major priority in protecting our environment and agricultural sector,” said USDA Secretary Mike Johanns. “This research will help identify effective strategies for preventing the introduction of invasive species and managing their presence.”

The Program of Research on the Economics of Invasive Species Management (PREISM), administered by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), competitively awarded the seven research projects.

The PREISM studies will provide analytically based principles, guidelines, and criteria for invasive species policy and program decision making, as well as the economic information, modeling systems, or other tools that support the decision making.

For more information, go online to www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/invasivespecies.