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Of bugs and men: How forest pests and their management strategies are perceived by visitors of an urban forest


Gutsch,  Martin
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Cooperation Partners;

Larondelle,  N.
External Organizations;

Haase,  D.
External Organizations;

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Gutsch, M., Larondelle, N., Haase, D. (2019): Of bugs and men: How forest pests and their management strategies are perceived by visitors of an urban forest. - Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 41, 248-254.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_23132
Larger forest patches in urban areas are highly valuable recreation sites that provide the urban population with various ecosystem services. Yet they are highly vulnerable to biological pests, especially in the light of climate change. The growing need to intervene against forest pests needs to be clearly but carefully communicated to the urban forest visitors in order to minimize conflicts. In this paper, a survey with 554 complete responses, conducted in the forest district of the “Teufelssee” in south-east Berlin, Germany, sheds first light on visitors’ perceptions of biological pests and their management. Results of Chi square statistics and a series of Logit models indicate a clear predisposition against pesticide or biocide interventions, while at the same time, showing remarkable positive tendencies towards mechanical interventions or measures taken on the individual-tree level. There are positive correlations between the age and the knowledge about pests (Kendall-Tau-b τB = 0.165) and between the age and the knowledge about pest regulation (τB = 0.182). Positive correlations also exist between level of education and pest knowledge (τB = 0.1) and knowledge about their regulation (τB = 0.08), respectively. Elderly respondents tend to vote for faster interventions. Overall, a large majority of the respondents would be willing to participate in a volunteer mapping of pests while visiting the forest. The results of this study can be used to inform urban forest management to modify and optimize their communication and information policies concerning pests and substantiated interventions.