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Lessons from the Frontline: Exploring How Stakeholders May Respond to Emerald Ash Borer Management in Europe

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Marzano, Mariella ; Hall, Clare ; Dandy, Norman ; LeBlanc Fisher, Cherie ; Diss-Torrance, Andrea ; Haight, Robert G.

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The emerald ash borer (EAB) has caused extensive damage and high mortality to native ash trees (Fraxinus; sp.) in North America. As European countries battle with the deadly pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (ash dieback) affecting European ash (Fraxinus excelsior), there is concern that the arrival of EAB will signal the demise of this much-loved tree. While Europe prepares for EAB it is vital that we understand the social dimensions that will likely influence the social acceptability of potential management measures, and experiences from the USA can potentially guide this. We draw on differing sources including a literature review, documentary analysis, and consultation with key informants from Chicago and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In this paper, we focus on EAB management responses that involve chemical applications, tree felling and replanting, and biological control, and assess their likely social acceptability to stakeholders based on the perceived risks and benefits. Benefits involve protecting specific ash trees and slowing the spread of EAB across the landscape. Risks include collateral harm from insecticide use on human and environmental health, financial costs and liabilities, and the effectiveness of each approach. Biological control and replacing ash with other species are likely to be largely acceptable across contexts and stakeholder groups but pre-emptive felling and insecticide application could be more problematic if seeking widespread social acceptance. Based on our observations from the evidence collected we offer suggestions for approaching EAB management in Europe with a focus on improving prospects of social acceptability. Strong engagement will be necessary to establish the relevance and reason for using different management approaches and to build awareness and trust.


emerald ash borer; social acceptability; risk/benefit; pest management; trees


Marzano, Mariella; Hall, Clare; Dandy, Norman; LeBlanc Fisher, Cherie; Diss-Torrance, Andrea; Haight, Robert G. 2020. Lessons from the Frontline: Exploring How Stakeholders May Respond to Emerald Ash Borer Management in Europe. Forests. 11(6): 617. 15 p.

Last updated on: June 29, 2020