Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 737–748 | Cite as

The contribution of passive surveillance to invasive species management

  • Susan M. HesterEmail author
  • Oscar J. Cacho
Perspectives and paradigms


It has been recognised for some time that the community has an important role to play in invasive-species management. Reports from the community about new incursions can lead to significant cost savings when this early detection results in shorter management programs. Unfortunately there is little to guide invasive-species managers on cost-effective ways to elicit and incorporate information from the public in their pest-management programs. Not all community surveillance is equal: some information from the public about the presence of pests and diseases may arise from chance encounters, other data may be reported by stakeholders from a particular industry or by groups of volunteers organised on the basis of citizen science activities. While the resources, activities and effort required to encourage each type of community surveillance are known to differ, very little is known of the relationships that determine effectiveness, and thus the appropriate level of investment that would be required to encourage a particular level of reporting. In this research we focus on passive surveillance—the most fortuitous type of community surveillance—and review the current knowledge base on measuring its cost and effectiveness. We aim to stimulate the research required to improve our understanding of passive surveillance, and we provide guidance on the type of data that should be collected by agencies to enable this research. This information could then provide us with the ability to design optimal surveillance portfolios that integrate the surveillance opportunities provided by the public to best advantage.


Passive surveillance General surveillance Citizen science Community engagement Biosecurity Cost-effectiveness 



Funding for this research was provided by the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA) through Project 1004 2b. CEBRA is based at the University of Melbourne. Contributions from Ian Reeve and Jamie Tramell to the project are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNE Business SchoolUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis, School of BotanyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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