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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Public acceptance of tree health management: Results of a national survey in the UK
Author(s): Fuller, Lauren
Marzano, Mariella
Peace, Andrew J
Quine, Christopher P
Dandy, Norman
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Keywords: Attitude
Public stakeholder
Tree health
Issue Date: May-2016
Date Deposited: 17-Feb-2016
Citation: Fuller L, Marzano M, Peace AJ, Quine CP & Dandy N (2016) Public acceptance of tree health management: Results of a national survey in the UK. Environmental Science and Policy, 59, pp. 18-25.
Abstract: Assumptions about public stakeholder attitudes to pest and disease management can influence the decisions of forest managers and NGOs involved in responding to pests and diseases; however, they are rarely assessed directly. Evidence on the social acceptability of tree health management methods is required to inform government led policy and management. A nationally representative survey of 2000 members of the UK public was used to address two research questions: (1) How acceptable are tree health management methods to the public? (2) How do opinions about woodland functions, concern and awareness of tree pests and diseases, and demographics influence acceptance of management methods? We found that public stakeholders are highly supportive of tree health management; however, knowledge about tree pests, diseases, and management options is low. Methods seen as more targeted and ‘natural’ were preferred, e.g. felling and burning only affected trees and using biological control rather than chemical control. There were demographic differences in attitudes: men and older people are more likely to support management interventions and stronger management methods than females and younger people. Acceptance of management can also differ according to location and local context (e.g. management is less supported when it may impact on wildlife) and values (e.g. those with economic values are more supportive of management). These findings provide evidence to support current government initiatives on tree health and should improve confidence amongst managers tasked with carrying out tree pest and disease management. However, there is a need for in-depth qualitative studies to explain the beliefs which influence demographic variations in acceptance and the influence of concepts such as ‘nativeness’ and ‘naturalness’.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.02.007
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