Integrating natural and social science perspectives on plant disease risk, management and policy formulation
Mills, P., Dehnen-Schmutz, K., Ilbery, B., Jeger, M., Jones, G., Little, R., MacLeod, A., Parker, S., Pautasso, M., Pietravalle, S. and Maye, D. (2011) Integrating natural and social science perspectives on plant disease risk, management and policy formulation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 366 (1573). pp. 2035-2044. ISSN 0962-8436
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2010.0411
Plant diseases threaten both food security and the botanical diversity of natural ecosystems. Substantial research effort is focused on pathogen detection and control, with detailed risk management available for many plant diseases. Risk can be assessed using analytical techniques that account for disease pressure both spatially and temporally. We suggest that such technical assessments of disease risk may not provide an adequate guide to the strategies undertaken by growers and government to manage plant disease. Instead, risk-management strategies need to account more fully for intuitive and normative responses that act to balance conflicting interests between stakeholder organizations concerned with plant diseases within the managed and natural environments. Modes of effective engagement between policy makers and stakeholders are explored in the paper, together with an assessment of such engagement in two case studies of contemporary non-indigenous diseases in one food and in one non-food sector. Finally, a model is proposed for greater integration of stakeholders in policy decisions.
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