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Perception and knowledge of the Sirex woodwasp and other forest pests in South Africa

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Sirex noctilio F. (Siricidae: Hymenoptera) is one of the most serious invasive pests of pine. In South Africa, there has been a national effort to control S. noctilio, including a campaign to increase awareness of the pest amongst the local forestry community.

We considered the impacts that the arrival of the pest and the awareness campaign have had on perceptions and knowledge of S. noctilio, as well as other forestry pests, amongst members of the forestry community.

For data collection, a survey questionnaire was developed and used in telephone interviews.

The results obtained in the present study showed that the Sirex awareness campaign had increased knowledge of forestry pests in general but basic knowledge regarding the identification and symptoms of specific pests, such as S. noctilio, was poor. This will negatively influence monitoring efficacy.

Traditional paper‐based media and personal contact contributed most to enhanced awareness. Electronic media were less effective and improvement would require a more focused effort. It was of concern that private farmers and contractors, as well as non‐European first language speakers, were less well informed about forestry pests.

Clearly, a fragmented landscape in terms of ownership and language, presents challenges for effective communication of forestry pest threats.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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