Forest Research's social economic research group is involved in a range of projects to explore the human dimensions of tree pests and diseases. Human activities, such as the expansion of international trade and outdoor recreation, have intensified the frequency of pest and pathogen introductions and their subsequent spread. Therefore, there is a clear need to understand stakeholders and involve them more fully in the safeguarding of tree health in the UK. Improved risk communication and engagement between a very wide range of public, private, and commercial actors is necessary for the effective prevention and management of pests and diseases.
The Government’s Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan (2011) calls for a more systematic engagement with the people who have a stake in tree health. This includes those who:
- Own or manage woodlands
- Engage in related trade (such as importing or buying plants)
- Those that could have a role to play in the detection and management of pests and diseases
- Stakeholders whose lives may be directly affected by tree pests and pathogens - such as through the infection of trees in their garden and the loss of local landscape amenity through eradication efforts
- Those whose health may be impacted by the presence of pests in their community.
Projects on the social dimensions of tree health
- Social and economic analyses of Dothistroma Needle Blight
- Improved methods for the early detection of Oak Processionary Moth