CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/ 15_003/0000453

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Invasive forest pathogens in Europe: Cross-country variation in public awareness but consistency in policy acceptability


Eriksson L., Boberg J., Cech T.L., Corcobado T., Desprez-Loustau M.L., Hietala A.M., Jung M.H., Jung T., Lehtijarvi H.T.D., Oskay F., Slavov S., Solheim H., Stenlid J., Oliva J.


Political action can reduce introductions of diseases caused by invasive forest pathogens (IPs) and public support is important for effective prevention. The public’s awareness of IP problems and the acceptability of policies aiming to combat these pathogens were surveyed in nine European countries (N = 3469). Although awareness of specific diseases (e.g., ash dieback) varied, problem awareness and policy acceptability were similar across countries. The public was positive towards policies for informational measures and stricter standards for plant production, but less positive towards restricting public access to protected areas. Multilevel models, including individual and country level variables, revealed that media exposure was positively associated with awareness of IP problems, and strengthened the link between problem awareness and policy acceptability. Results suggest that learning about IPs through the media and recognizing the associated problems increase policy acceptability. Overall, the study elaborates on the anthropogenic dimension of diseases caused by IPs.

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