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Tree Health And Plant Biosecurity: Mapping, Analysis and Improved Understanding of Stakeholders and the Public To Help Protect Tree Health - TH0104

This 18 month research project contributes to Government policy on tree health in England, Wales and Scotland by improving our understanding of the attitudes, motivation and activities of the stakeholders and publics involved. The need to engage stakeholders more fully in the safeguarding of UK tree health is now widely acknowledged.

The Government’s Action Plan for Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity (2011) calls for more systematic engagement with those who have a stake – including those who own or manage the woodland resource, engage in trade (such as importing or buying plants) which may spread disease, or could have a role to play in the better management of disease pathways. Determining how far the safeguarding of tree health requires a rebalancing of responsibilities and control between government and wider society is an important policy question under the Government’s ‘Big Society’ agenda.

This research will identify and map relevant stakeholders, assess the current levels of awareness of disease risk and explore how different publics can in future make a greater contribution to prevention and control. The project will produce comprehensive stakeholder analyses in relation to tree health and plant biosecurity at a general level and in relation to two specific case-study pests and diseases.

The first phase of the research will combine investigation of pest and disease pathways, with analysis of stakeholder networks and associated supply chains. Subsequent to this the project will assess levels of stakeholder awareness and understanding of tree health problems and their role in addressing them - via interview and survey analysis. Combining the results of these two phases will help identify which stakeholders play critical roles in the exchange of knowledge and information. The third dimension of the research will be to match the foregoing analyses to lessons learned from public engagement best practice and behaviour theory (particularly from other related sectors, such as animal health and genomics) so as to identify cost-effective engagement strategies which will be appropriate to specific key stakeholders, in varying pathways, and at different stages of current or potential tree health problems.

The project will bedelivered by a consortium of UK Research Institutes with renowned expertise in stakeholder analysis, environmental risk management and tree health. Led by Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy, the project will involve Forest Research, The Food and Environment Research Agency and the universities of Cardiff and the West of England (CCRI). It will be undertaken with the cooperation and assistance of key stakeholders and networks such as the Royal Horticultural Society, the National Trust and the Trees and Design Action Group.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2014

Cost: £261,300
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Forest Research Agency, F E R A (FERA), Imperial College London
Natural Environment              
Plant health              
Plant Pests and Diseases