The relevance of using various scoring schemes revealed by an impact assessment of feral mammals
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Impact scoring schemes are useful for identifying to what extent alien species cause damage. Quantifying the similarity and differences between impact scoring schemes can help determine how to optimally use these tools for policy decisions. Using feral mammals (including rats and mice) as a case study, environmental and socio-economic impacts were assessed using three schemes, namely the Generic Impact Scoring System (GISS), Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT) and Socio-Economic Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (SEICAT). The results show that socio-economic impacts scores differ between the respective schemes (GISS and SEICAT) possibly because they assess different aspects of social life and economy. This suggests that both scoring schemes should ideally be applied in concert to get a complete picture of socio-economic impacts. In contrast, environmental impact scores are correlated between GISS and EICAT assessments and this similarity is consistent over most mechanisms except for predation and ecosystems, suggesting that one scoring scheme is sufficient to capture all the environmental impacts. Furthermore, we present evidence for the island susceptibility hypothesis as impacts of feral mammals were found to be higher on islands compared to mainlands.