Part of the solution? Stakeholder awareness, information and engagement in tree health issues

Abstract

The dangers posed to wooded environments from tree pests introduced by the expansion of international trade in live plants and the continued use of wood packaging in transporting materials have been widely accepted. A lack of awareness of the issues amongst key stakeholders involved in the movement of these materials can hamper an effective response as their unaltered behaviours continue to have unintended consequences. Better communication and engagement is needed to enrol this wider range of actors, such as plant buyers, traders and woodland owners, in preventative action or mitigation of tree pest impacts. However, as this review paper shows, current published evidence on awareness levels and effective engagement methods is limited, and lessons must be sought from research into other closely related issues such as invasive plants. We provide a summary of this available evidence, related to key stakeholder groupings, their levels of awareness and current modes of information provision and reception. It show what can at best be described as mediocre levels of awareness, and highlights the role of traditional media, such as television and newspapers, as sources of information. It further notes the urgent need for research to more fully map the tree health stakeholder landscape and to further our understanding of how to increase awareness and effect changes in behaviour.

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Acknowledgments

This paper is an output from the PERMIT COST Action FP1002 and was funded by the Forestry Commission Great Britain and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The authors would like to thank Trevor Fenning, Chris Quine, and two anonymous referees for comments provided on earlier drafts.

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Correspondence to Mariella Marzano.

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Marzano, M., Dandy, N., Bayliss, H.R. et al. Part of the solution? Stakeholder awareness, information and engagement in tree health issues. Biol Invasions 17, 1961–1977 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-015-0850-2

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Keywords

  • Tree health
  • Stakeholders
  • Pests
  • Knowledge
  • Communication
  • Awareness