Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 3317–3332 | Cite as

The role of the social sciences and economics in understanding and informing tree biosecurity policy and planning: a global summary and synthesis

  • Mariella MarzanoEmail author
  • W. Allen
  • R. G. Haight
  • T. P. Holmes
  • E. Carina H. Keskitalo
  • E. R. Lisa Langer
  • M. Shadbolt
  • J. Urquhart
  • N. Dandy
Forest Invasions


Increased global biosecurity threats to trees, woods and forests have been strongly linked to the upsurge in worldwide trade and the expansion of tourism. A whole range of social, economic and political actors are implicated and affected by the movement of pests and diseases along these international pathways. A number of factors affect the actions of stakeholders, and wider public, including their values and motivations, how risks are perceived and acted upon, their ability to act, as well as the existing regulatory and economic environment. Understanding these factors is key to any future attempts to improve biosecurity policy and practice, and we present available evidence on six key dimension: (1) the role of different stakeholders and the broader public within tree health; (2) levels of knowledge and awareness of tree pests and diseases amongst the variety of end-user ‘stakeholder’ groups, and influences on their attitudes and practices; (3) social acceptability of management approaches; (4) the impact of formal and informal governance arrangements; (5) risk communication; (6) economic analyses on the impact of tree pests. We conclude by identifying evidence gaps and emphasising the need for better integration within the social sciences and between the social and natural sciences to promote effective interdisciplinary and policy-relevant contributions to tree health.


Social science Tree pests Awareness Acceptability Governance Risk communication 



The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and editors for their constructive comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of United Kingdom 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariella Marzano
    • 1
    Email author
  • W. Allen
    • 2
  • R. G. Haight
    • 3
  • T. P. Holmes
    • 4
  • E. Carina H. Keskitalo
    • 5
  • E. R. Lisa Langer
    • 6
  • M. Shadbolt
    • 7
  • J. Urquhart
    • 8
  • N. Dandy
    • 9
  1. 1.Forest ResearchRoslin, MidlothianUK
  2. 2.Learning for SustainabilityChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.Northern Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceSt. PaulUSA
  4. 4.Southern Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  5. 5.Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  6. 6.ScionChristchurchNew Zealand
  7. 7.Lincoln UniversityChristchurchNew Zealand
  8. 8.Imperial College LondonLondonUK
  9. 9.The Plunkett FoundationOxfordUK

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