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Enthusiasm and Tree Health

Citizen engagement in monitoring ash tree dieback

Enthusiasm and Tree Health

With the recent launch of the Chalara Management Plan by Defra, to control the spread of ash tree dieback, citizen science remains a key component of the government's response to the disease by enrolling the public in surveillance, monitoring and action.

Dr Hilary Geoghegan has been investigating the OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) tree health survey mentioned in the Management Plan since she joined UCL Geography last October. The survey draws on expertise from OPAL, Defra, Fera (Food and Environment Research Agency) and Forest Research (serving the Forestry Commission) to engage citizens on issues of tree health and to report high risk pests threatening UK trees (including Chalara).

During March Hilary has participated in two Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative workshops (funded by Living with Environmental Change, LWEC). In York she contributed a social science perspective to work on tree health detection methods and, at Imperial College last week, she attended a workshop about biosecurity pathways and stakeholder engagement.

Hilary is working in collaboration with Forest Research to understand what motivates and sustains participation in citizen science for tree health. Her paper on the theme of the emotional geographies of enthusiasm in groups was published in the latest issue of Area. It is also available Open Access.

Geoghegan, H. (2013), Emotional geographies of enthusiasm: belonging to the Telecommunications Heritage Group. Area, 45: 40–46. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01128.x



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