Awareness, concern and willingness to adopt biosecure behaviours: public perceptions of invasive tree pests and pathogens in the UK

Julie Urquhart, Clive Potter, Julia Barnett, Lindsay Fellenor, John Mumford, Christopher Quine, Helen Bayliss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The growing incidence of invasive tree pest and disease outbreaks is
recognised as an increasing threat to ecosystem services and human
wellbeing. Linked to global trade, human movement and climate change, a
number of outbreaks have attracted high public and media attention.
However, there is surprisingly little evidence characterising the nature of
public attentiveness to these events, nor how publics might respond to
evolving outbreaks and the management actions taken. This paper presents
findings from an online questionnaire involving 1,334 respondents nationallyrepresentative
of the British public to assess awareness, concern and
willingness to adopt biosecure behaviours. Despite revealing low levels of
awareness and knowledge, the results indicate that the British public is
concerned about the health of trees, forests and woodlands and is moderately
willing to adopt biosecure behaviours. A key finding is that membership of
environmental organisations and strong place identity are likely to engender
higher awareness and levels of concern about tree pests and diseases.
Further, those who visit woodlands regularly are likely to be more aware than
non-visitors, and gardeners are more likely to be concerned than nongardeners.
Women, older respondents, those with strong place identity and
dependence, members of environmental organisations, woodland visitors and
gardeners were most likely to express a willingness to adopt biosecure
behaviours. A comparison with findings from a survey conducted by the
authors three years previously shows a decline over time in awareness,
concern and willingness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2567–2582
JournalBiological Invasions
Volume19
Issue number9
Early online date29 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • invasive tree pests and pathogens
  • Public Perceptions
  • Survey
  • biosecurity
  • Public awareness

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