Advertisement

The Social Amplification of Tree Health Risks: The Case of Ash Dieback Disease in the UK

  • Julie Urquhart
  • Julie Barnett
  • John Fellenor
  • John Mumford
  • Clive Potter
  • Christopher P. Quine
Chapter

Abstract

The risks posed by tree pests and diseases have been widely recognised in expert circles, but the degree to which this awareness is shared by publics and stakeholders is still unclear. There is a potential conflict between government attempts to manage the risks, media coverage and the ways in which publics and stakeholders make sense of the threats. The Social Amplification of Risk Framework (SARF) was adopted in this study as a means of exploring the interrelationships of media representation, expert assessments and public perceptions of the ash dieback outbreak in the UK. By exploring the dynamic interactions between these different actors and the social, psychological and cultural processes through which they determine risk, the study provides a more nuanced understanding of tree health risks that can inform risk communication strategies and outbreak management.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research reported in this chapter was produced as part of the UNPICK (Understanding public risk in relation to tree health) project funded jointly by a grant from BBSRC, Defra, ESRC, the Forestry Commission, NERC and the Scottish Government, under the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative (Grant Number BB/L012308/1). It draws on material published in the peer-reviewed outputs of the project and a policy briefing (Potter et al. 2018).

References

  1. Bakir, V. (2005). Greenpeace v. Shell: Media exploitation and the Social Amplification of Risk Framework (SARF). Journal of Risk Research, 8(7), 679–691.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13669870500166898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burns, W. J., Slovic, P., Kasperson, R. E., Kasperson, J. X., Renn, O., & Emani, S. (1993). Incorporating structural models into research on the social amplification of risk: Implications for theory construction and decision making. Risk Analysis, 13(6), 611–623.  http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1993.tb01323.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Busby, J. S., & Onggo, S. (2012). Managing the social amplification of risk: A similation of interacting actors. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 1–16.  https://doi.org/10.1057/jors.2012.80.
  4. Busby, J. S., Alcock, R. E., & MacGillivray, B. H. (2009). Interrupting the social amplification of risk process: A case study in collective emissions reduction. Environmental Science & Policy, 12(3), 297–308.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2008.12.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. COA. (2013). Risk Analysis Framework 2013. Edited by Office of the Gene Technology Regulator Department of Health and Ageing. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
  6. Dietz, T., & Stern, P. (Eds.). (1996). Understanding risk. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  7. Duckett, D., Wynne, B., Christley, R. M., Heathwaite, A. L., Mort, M., Austin, Z., et al. (2015). Can policy be risk-based? The cultural theory of risk and the case of livestock disease containment. Sociologia Ruralis, 55(4), 379–399.  https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12064.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fellenor, J., Barnett, J., Potter, C., Urquhart, J., Mumford, J.‚ & Quine, C. P. (under review-a). Ash dieback and other tree pests and pathogens: Dispersed risk events and the social amplification of risk framework. Journal of Risk Research.Google Scholar
  9. Fellenor, J., Barnett, J., Potter, C., Urquhart, J., Mumford, J., Quine, C. P., & Raum, S. (under review-b). ‘I’d like to report a suspicious looking tree’: Public concern, public attention and the nature of reporting about ash dieback in the UK. Public Understanding of Science.Google Scholar
  10. Fellenor, J., Barnett, J., Potter, C., Urquhart, J., Mumford, J., & Quine, C. P. (2017). The social amplification of risk on twitter: The case of ash dieback disease. Journal of Risk Research, 1–21.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2017.1281339.
  11. FR. (2012). Rapid assessment of the need for a detailed Pest Risk Analysis for Chalara fraxinea. Forest Research.Google Scholar
  12. Fuller, L., Marzano, M., Peace, A., Quine, C. P., & Dandy, N. (2016). Public acceptance of tree health management: Results of a national survey in the UK. Environmental Science & Policy, 59(May), 18–25.  http://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2016.02.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gaspar, R., Gorjão, S., Seibt, B., Lima, L., Barnett, J., Moss, A., et al. (2014). Tweeting during food crises: A psychosocial analysis of threat coping expressions in Spain, during the 2011 European EHEC outbreak. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 72, 239–254.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2013.10.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gormley, A., Pollard, S., & Rocks, S. (2011). Green leaves III: Guidelines for environmental risk assessment and management. Cranfield: Cranfield University.Google Scholar
  15. Heuch, J. (2014). What lessons need to be learnt from the outbreak of Ash Dieback Disease, Chalara fraxinea in the United Kingdom? Arboricultural Journal: The International Journal of Urban Forestry, 36(1), 32–44.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03071375.2014.913361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Höijer, B. (2010). Emotional anchoring and objectification in the media reporting on climate change. Public Understanding of Science, 19(6), 717–731.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662509348863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jackson, J., Allum, N., & Gaskell, G. (2006). Bridging levels of analysis in risk perception research: The case of the fear of crime. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(1, Art. 20), 1–26.Google Scholar
  18. Kasperson, R. E. (1992). The social amplification of risk—Progress in developing an integrative framework. In S. Krimsky & D. Golding (Eds.), Social theories of risk. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  19. Kasperson, R. E. (2012a). A perspective on the social amplification of risk. The Bridge, 42(3), 23–27. Google Scholar
  20. Kasperson, R. E. (2012b). The social amplification of risk and low level radiation. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 68(3), 59–66.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0096340212444871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kasperson, R. E., & Kasperson, J. X. (1996). The social amplification and attenuation of risk. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 545, 95–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kasperson, R. E., Renn, O., Slovic, P., Brown, H. S., Emel, J., Goble, R., et al. (1988). The social amplification of risk: A conceptual framework. Risk Analysis, 8(2), 177–187.  http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1988.tb01168.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kowalski, T. (2006). Chalara fraxinea sp. nov. associated with dieback of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in Poland. Forest Pathology, 36(4), 264–270.  http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0329.2006.00453.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kuhar, S. E., Nierenberg, K., Kirkpatrick, B., & Tobin, G. A. (2009). Public perceptions of Florida red tide risks. Risk Analysis, 29(7), 964–969.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2009.01228.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lasswell, H. (1948). The structure and function of communication in society. In L. Byrson (Ed.), The communication of ideas. New York: Institute for Religious and Social Studies.Google Scholar
  26. Lewis, R. E., & Tyshenko, M. G. (2009). The impact of social amplification and attenuation of risk and the public reaction to mad cow disease in Canada. Risk Analysis, 29(5), 714–728.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2008.01188.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Merkelsen, H. (2011). Institutionalized ignorance as a precondition for rational risk expertise. Risk Analysis, 31(7), 1083–1094.  http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01576.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moscovici, S. (1984). The phenomenon of social representations. In R. M. Farr & S. Moscovici (Eds.), Social representations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Mumford, J. D. (2013). Biosecurity management practices: Determining and delivering a response. In A. Dobson, K. Barker, & S. Taylor (Eds.), Biosecurity: The socio-politics of invasive species and infectious diseases. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Murdock, G., Petts, J., & Horlick-Jones, T. (2003). After amplification: Rethinking the role of the media in risk communication. In N. Pidgeon, R. E. Kasperson, & P. Slovic (Eds.), The social amplification of risk (pp. 156–178). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Petts, J., Horlick-Jones, T., & Murdock, G. (2001). Social amplification of risk: The media and the public. Contract Research Report 326/2001 for the Health & Safety Executive.Google Scholar
  32. Pidgeon, N., & Barnett, J. (2013). Chalara and the social amplification of risk. Report to Defra.Google Scholar
  33. Potter, C., Urquhart, J., Mumford, J., Barnett, J., Fellenor, J., & Quine, C. P. (2018). UNPICK policy briefing note. Edited by Imperial College London.Google Scholar
  34. Rayner, S. (1988). Muddling through metaphors to maturity: A commentary on Kasperson et al., the social amplification of risk. Risk Analysis, 8(2), 201–204.  http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1988.tb01172.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Renn, O. (1991). Risk communication and the social amplification of risk. In R. E. Kasperson & P. J. M. Stallen (Eds.), Communicating risks to the public (pp. 287–324). Dordrecht: Springer.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-1952-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Renn, O. (2003). Social amplification of risk in participation: Two case studies. In N. Pidgeon, R. E. Kasperson, & P. Slovic (Eds.), The social amplification of risk (pp. 374–401). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Renn, O., Burns, W. J., Kasperson, J. X., Kasperson, R. E., & Slovic, P. (1992). The social amplification of risk: Theoretical foundations and empirical applications. Journal of Social Issues, 48(4), 137–160.  http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.1992.tb01949.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Selbon, M., Raude, J., Fischler, C., & Flahault, A. (2005). Risk perception of the ‘mad cow disease’ in France: Determinants and consequences. Risk Analysis, 25(4), 813–826.  http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2005.00634.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shannon, C. E., & Weaver, W. (1949). The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  40. Slovic, P. (1987). Perception of risk. Science, 236, 280–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Smith, A. (2010). Government online: The internet gives citizens new paths to government services and information. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project.Google Scholar
  42. Tomlinson, I. (2016). The discovery of ash dieback in the UK: The making of a focusing event. Environmental Politics, 25(4), 709–728.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2015.1118790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Urquhart, J., Potter, C., Barnett, J., Fellenor, J., Mumford, J., & Quine, C. P. (under review-a). Risk communication and the subjective differences in the public perceptions of ash dieback: A Q methodology study. Land Use Policy.Google Scholar
  44. Urquhart, J., Potter, C., Barnett, J., Fellenor, J., Mumford, J., & Quine, C.P. (under review-b). Managing the institutional risks of tree pest and disease outbreaks in Britain: The case of ash dieback. Forest Policy and Economics. Google Scholar
  45. Urquhart, J., Potter, C., Barnett, J., Fellenor, J., Mumford, J., & Quine, C. P. (2017a, November). Expert risk perceptions and the social amplification of risk: A case study in invasive tree pests and diseases. Environmental Science & Policy, 77, 172–178.  http://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2017.08.020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Urquhart, J., Potter, C., Barnett, J., Fellenor, J., Mumford, J., Quine, C. P., & Bayliss, H. (2017b). Awareness, concern and willingness to adopt biosecure behaviours: Public perceptions of invasive tree pests and pathogens in the UK. Biological Invasions, 19(9).  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1467-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Veil, S. R., Buehner, T., & Palenchar, M. J. (2011). A work-in-process literature review: Incorporating social media in risk and crisis communication. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 19(2), 110–122.  http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5973.2011.00639.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Urquhart
    • 1
  • Julie Barnett
    • 2
  • John Fellenor
    • 2
  • John Mumford
    • 3
  • Clive Potter
    • 3
  • Christopher P. Quine
    • 4
  1. 1.Countryside & Community Research InstituteUniversity of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls CampusGloucesterUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BathBathUK
  3. 3.Centre for Environmental PolicyImperial College London, South Kensington CampusLondonUK
  4. 4.Forest Research, Northern Research StationRoslinUK

Personalised recommendations