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Consistency of impact assessment protocols for non-native species
Pablo González-Moreno, Lorenzo Lazzaro, Montserrat Vila, Cristina Preda, Tim Adriaens, Sven Bacher, Giuseppe Brundu, Gordon H. Copp, Franz Essl, Nikica Ogris, 2019

Abstract: Standardized tools are needed to identify and prioritize the most harmful non-native species (NNS). A plethora of assessment protocols have been developed to evaluate the current and potential impacts of non-native species, but consistency among them has received limited attention. To estimate the consistency across impact assessment protocols, 89 specialists in biological invasions used 11 protocols to screen 57 NNS (2614 assessments). We tested if the consistency in the impact scoring across assessors, quantified as the coefficient of variation (CV), was dependent on the characteristics of the protocol, the taxonomic group and the expertise of the assessor. Mean CV across assessors was 40%, with a maximum of 223%. CV was lower for protocols with a low number of score levels, which demanded high levels of expertise, and when the assessors had greater expertise on the assessed species. The similarity among protocols with respect to the final scores was higher when the protocols considered the same impact types. We conclude that all protocols led to considerable inconsistency among assessors. In order to improve consistency, we highlight the importance of selecting assessors with high expertise, providing clear guidelines and adequate training but also deriving final decisions collaboratively by consensus.
Keywords: environmental impact, expert judgement, invasive alien species policy, management prioritization, risk assessment, socio-economic impact
DiRROS - Published: 03.04.2019; Views: 1677; Downloads: 592
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Using citizen science to monitor the spread of tree pests and diseases : outcomes of two projects in Slovenia and the UK
Peter Crow, Ana Pérez-Sierra, Andreja Kavčič, Kate Lewthwaite, Marija Kolšek, Nikica Ogris, Barbara Piškur, Jana Kus Veenvliet, Simon Zidar, Suzanne Sancisi-Frey, Maarten De Groot, 2020

Abstract: The trees and forests of Europe are increasingly under threat from new pests and diseases that have originated in other parts of the world. Early detection of alien species when they first appear in European countries allows rapid response and offers the best chance to mitigate against their establishment and spread. Citizen science initiatives such as LIFE ARTEMIS in Slovenia, and Observatree in the UK, provide members of the public with the necessary training and educational resource to identify these tree pests and diseases and report them to the appropriate authorities, thereby increasing the level of surveillance and the capacity of the early warning system. This paper summarises some of the outcomes of these two projects and how they have both become integral parts of the official forest and tree health monitoring systems within their respective countries of Slovenia and the United Kingdom.
Keywords: invasive alien species, plant health, tree health, forest health, early warning, rapid response
DiRROS - Published: 16.11.2020; Views: 847; Downloads: 455
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Challenges and solutions in early detection, rapid response and communication about potential invasive alien species in forests
Jana Kus Veenvliet, Simon Zidar, David Williams, Laura Verbrugge, Elena Tricarico, Jon Sweeney, Craig Shuttleworth, Nikki Robinson, Aleksander Marinšek, Márton Korda, Natalia Kirichenko, Eugenio Gervasini, Massimo Faccoli, Ágnes Csíszár, György Csóka, Erin Bullas-Appleton, Richard O'Hanlon, Maarten De Groot, 2020

Abstract: Invasive alien species (IAS) are an important threat to forests. One of the best ways to manage potential IAS is through early detection and rapid response (EDRR) strategies. However, when dealing with IAS in forests, EU regulations are divided between phytosanitary regulations and IAS regulations. A version of EDRR for the former has been in place in the EU for more than 15 years while the latter is still in the process of being implemented. During 2019, a workshop was held to gather international experts on different plant health pests and IAS. The purpose of this workshop was to identify the opportunities and difficulties in applying the EDRR system in the EU phytosanitary and IAS legislation to four species for providing suggestions to improve the EDRR system. The model species are well known and come from different trophic levels. These species were the American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis); and the plant health pests Geosmithia morbida and Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). We identified the similarities in the challenges of early detection, rapid response and communication of these species. For all species, difficulties in species identification, knowledge gaps on the pathways of spread, a lack of resources and uncertainty over which national government service was the competent authority were identified as the main challenges. Other challenges like public perception for the grey squirrel or methodological problems were species-specific. Regarding the rapid response: public perception, determination of the eradication area, sufficient scientific capacity and the lack of resources were common challenges for all species. Therefore, collaboration between institutes dealing with plant health pests and IAS can lead to better control of both groups of unwanted %organisms in forests.
Keywords: early warning system, plant health legislation, EU IAS legislation, alien species, Geosmithia morbida, Emerald ash borer, American pokeweed, Grey squirrel, rapid response system
DiRROS - Published: 11.12.2020; Views: 834; Downloads: 286
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Ethical dilemmas when using citizen science for early detection of invasive tree pests and diseases
Erin Bullas-Appleton, Mariella Marzano, Michael J.O. Pocock, Alison Dyke, Maarten De Groot, Craig Shuttleworth, Rehema White, 2020

Abstract: The early detection of tree health pests and disease is an important component of biosecurity to protect the aesthetic, recreational and economic importance of trees, woodlands and forestry. Citizen science is valuable in supporting the early detection of tree pests and diseases. Different stakeholders (government, business, society and individual) will vary in their opinion of the balance between costs and benefits of early detection and consequent management, partly because many costs are local whereas benefits are felt at larger scales. This can create clashes in motivations of those involved in citizen science, thus leading to ethical dilemmas about what is good and responsible conduct for the use of citizen science. We draw on our experience of tree health citizen science to exemplify five dilemmas. These dilemmas arise because: the consequences of detection may locally be severe (e.g. the destruction of trees); knowledge of these impacts could lead to refusal to make citizen science reports; citizen science reports can be made freely, but can be costly to respond to; participants may expect solutions even if these are not possible; and early detection is (by definition) a rare event. Effective engagement and dialogue across stakeholders, including public stakeholders, is important to properly address these issues. This is vital to ensure the public%s long-term support for and trust in the use of citizen science for the early detection of tree pests and diseases.
Keywords: alien species, volunteer, eradication, participatory research
DiRROS - Published: 14.12.2020; Views: 653; Downloads: 247
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Corythucha arcuata (Say, 1832) (Hemiptera, Tingidae) in its invasive range in Europe : perception, knowledge and willingness to act in foresters and citizens
Flavius Balacenoiu, György Csóka, Bastien Castagneyrol, Iris Bernardinelli, Anže Japelj, Milka Glavendekić, Gernot Hoch, Boris Hrašovec, Silvija Krajter Ostoić, Márton Paulin, David Williams, Johan Witters, Maarten De Groot, 2021

Abstract: The oak lace bug (OLB) Corythucha arcuata (Say, 1832) is an invasive alien species (IAS) that potentially could have many negative impacts on European oak health. Certain measures can be applied to counteract these effects. However, these measures may not be acceptable for forest managers or other stakeholder groups, such as private forest owners, environmental NGOs or the general public. Thereby, we set out to study the perception and knowledge of foresters and other stakeholders on the health status of European oak forests affected by oak lace bug and to investigate what forest health management measures would be acceptable to these target groups. An online survey questionnaire was designed and distributed via social networks, as well as professional networks via e-mails. The survey questionnaire was completed by 2084 respondents from nine European countries: Austria, Croatia, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Even though only a little over 60% of respondents reported they had noticed the discolouration of oak leaves caused by OLB, almost all (93%) considered it to be a problem. As respondents come from a country where C. arcuata is widespread and established, people%s general knowledge and awareness of OLB began to increase. The survey revealed that foresters thought that the insect affected photosynthesis, acorn crop and the aesthetics of the trees, but cannot cause death of trees. However, they assume that the value of the wood would decrease (this fact is also supported by the respondents who are connected to an environmental NGO), but that OLB does not affect property value. However, forest owners claim that the value of the property can be affected and that people would avoid entering the forest. In terms of potential control methods, respondents preferred biological or mechanical measures over chemical ones. We consider this study to be a good basis for further research on the topic of perception, knowledge and attitudes related to OLB since we can expect that the IAS, such as OLB, will certainly spread to European countries that were not included in this survey.
Keywords: attitude, citizen knowledge, Europe, forest health, IAS control measures, invasive alien species, survey
DiRROS - Published: 28.10.2021; Views: 350; Downloads: 219
.pdf Fulltext (3,36 MB)

Comparing environmental impacts of alien plants, insects and pathogens in protected riparian forests
Katharina Lapin, Sven Bacher, Thomas L. Cech, Rok Damjanić, Franz Essl, Freya-Isabel Georges, Gernot Hoch, Andreja Kavčič, András Koltay, Saša Kostić, Ivan Lukić, Aleksander Marinšek, Laszlo Nagy, Sonja Novak Agbaba, Janine Oettel, Saša Orlović, Leopold Poljaković-Pajnik, Marcus Sallmannshofer, Martin Steinkellner, Srdjan Stojnić, Marjana Westergren, Milica Zlatković, Anita Zolles, Maarten De Groot, 2021

Abstract: The prioritization of alien species according to the magnitude of their environmental impacts has become increasingly important for the management of invasive alien species. In this study, we applied the Environmental Impact Classification of Alien Taxa (EICAT) to classify alien taxa from three different taxonomic groups to facilitate the prioritisation of management actions for the threatened riparian forests of the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve, South East Europe. With local experts we collated a list of 198 alien species (115 plants, 45 insects, and 38 fungi) with populations reported in southeast European forest ecosystems and included them in the EICAT. We found impact reports for 114 species. Eleven of these species caused local extinctions of a native species, 35 led to a population decrease, 51 to a reduction in performance in at least one native species and for 17 alien species no effects on individual fitness of native species were detected. Fungi had significantly highest impact and were more likely to have information on their impacts reported. Competition and parasitism were the most important impact mechanisms of alien species. This study is, to our knowledge, the first application of EICAT to all known alien species of several taxonomic groups in a protected area. The impact rankings enabled to identify taxa that generally cause high impacts and to prioritize species for the management in protected areas according to their impact magnitudes. By following a standardized impact protocol, we identified several alien species causing high impacts that do not appear on any expert-based risk list, which are relevant for policymakers. Thus, we recommend that alien species be systematically screened to identify knowledge gaps and prioritize their management with respect to spatio-temporal trends in impact magnitudes.
Keywords: alien species, biological invasions, EICAT, invasive species management, protected areas, species prioritization
DiRROS - Published: 29.10.2021; Views: 295; Downloads: 210
.pdf Fulltext (1,13 MB)

Species interactions : next-level citizen science
Quentin Groom, Nadja Pernat, Tim Adriaens, Maarten De Groot, Sven D. Jelaska, Diana Marčiulyniene, Angeliki F. Martinou, Jiří Skuhrovec, Elena Tricarico, Ernst C. Wit, Helen E. Roy, 2021

Abstract: We envisage a future research environment where digital data on species interactions are easily accessible and comprehensively cover all species, life stages and habitats. To achieve this goal, we need data from many sources, including the largely untapped potential of citizen science for mobilising and utilising existing information on species interactions. Traditionally volunteers contributing information on the occurrence of species have focused on single-species observations from within one target taxon. We make recommendations on how to improve the gathering of species interaction data through citizen science, which data should be collected and how it can be motivated. These recommendations include providing feedback in the form of network visualisations, leveraging a wide variety of other data sources and eliciting an emotional connection to the species in question. There are many uses for these data, but in the context of biological invasions, information on species interactions will increase understanding of the effects of invasive alien species on recipient communities and ecosystems. We believe that the inclusion of ecological networks as a concept within citizen science, not only for initiatives focussed on biological invasions but also across other ecological themes, will not only enrich scientific knowledge on species interactions but also deepen the experience and enjoyment of citizens themselves.
Keywords: alien species, biological invasions, citizen science
DiRROS - Published: 29.10.2021; Views: 350; Downloads: 215
.pdf Fulltext (1,03 MB)

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