Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Dothistroma Needle Blight: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Management Options and Supporting Social Science - TH0111

The health of Britain’s trees is being challenged by a number of pests and pathogens. Some of these are new organisms in this country, but others have been here for some time and only now are beginning to cause alarm by spreading in range and across tree species. Dothistroma Needle Blight is one such threat and is particularly damaging to a number of pine species, including our native and much admired Scots pine. Eradication of this disease is no longer possible but there are a number or management options that can lessen the impact of the disease. Some of these options may require a change in practice by managers, may be costly for owners, or may involve collateral damage to other values held by those who have an interest in trees. Together with an improved knowledge of the biology of the disease (and therefore possible management and control options), there is a need for a greater understanding of how to encourage disease management through an understanding of the knowledge, values and beliefs of stakeholders, and the costs and benefits of the options. This improved understanding will help all those trying to minimize the effects of the disease through strategic and management actions.

The project team brings together experts from Europe and New Zealand on Dothistroma Needle Blight with leading scientists in the fields of forest, social and economic sciences to tackle the problem. The 18 month project will provide evidence necessary to progress a GB control strategy and support the Action and Communication Plans in each of the countries of GB.
The general aim of the project is to provide social and economic evidence and analysis to support the implementation of the Great Britain Dothistroma Needle Blight Strategy and associated Country Action Plans.

We propose the following three objectives -:

1. To draw together new social and economic research on the barriers and opportunities of known control options and make it available so that Communications Strategy and Action Plans can be progressed. This objective will depend upon progress with objectives 2 and 3. It will be led by Forest Research (FR) (Dr Chris Quine and Dr Mariella Marzano) and will involve all project team members (including social scientists, economists and Dothistroma experts plus specific contribution on communication from Strategic Marketing Ltd), and exchange of knowledge and findings with a Practitioner Panel and Defra-appointed experts to provide the final outputs by month 18 of the project. Early team work within this package will establish common understanding and identify common options/scenarios for in depth social and economic analysis.

2. To identify the main stakeholders of DNB management, and understand their beliefs, values and practices around control methods and the need for disease management. This will be led by Brunel University (Prof Julie Barnett) together with Dr Marcu, and directly involve scientists at FR (Dr Mariella Marzano, Dr Norman Dandy, and Prof Anna Lawrence), together with a specific input from White October (supported software for survey). The wider project team will be involved through identification of scenarios for study within Objective 1 and in contributing to the identification of stakeholders.

3. To conduct cost-benefit analyses of specific combinations of woodland type and disease status and control so that the economic position is clear and financial barriers are understood. This will be led by Dr Glyn Jones (Fera) and directly involve our independent expert economist (Prof Colin Price) together with FR RA accessing growth and yield modeling data through liaison with FR scientist (Tom Jenkins and Robert Matthews). The wider project team will be involved through identification of scenarios (both forest types and control options) for study within Objective 1, and in assisting with sources of other input data.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : TH0111 FINAL REPORT-FINAL   (1012k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2014

Cost: £335,712
Contractor / Funded Organisations
SCION , Colin Price, University of Aberdeen, Brunel University, F E R A (FERA), Forest Research Agency, University of Bath
Plant diseases              
Plant health