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Tailoring biosecurity strategies around people: Evaluating the role of science communication in the management of fruit fly in Western Australia
Urban areas are frequently the first site of introduction for exotic pests where they may remain undetected until they are well established. Therefore, backyard and garden activities in urban and peri-urban areas have the potential to host pests that would threaten the plant industries in WA.
This project will use the Fruit fly as a case study to investigate how communicating the science about the fly to the lay public:
a) could improve people’s understanding of their role in the introduction, spread and management of pest and diseases to the plant industries in Western Australia, and
b) be engaged in biosecurity measures.
This project will research:
• the factors that affect people’s decisions to adopt biosecurity practices and their implementation,
• whether understanding the biosecurity science increases adoption rates, and
• possible strategies to reduce/minimise the incidence of fruit fly in urban and peri-urban areas derived from the acquisition of scientific information.
In designing of biosecurity measures, developers and managers often consider a variety of mediums and processes to provide farmers and the public with the necessary elements to understanding of the implications of biosecurity and the adoption of a biosecurity measure.
Engaging the general public in biosecurity is an important part of any strategy to help the agricultural industries to maximise productivity, reduce costs to industry and government involved in eradicating and controlling pests and diseases, and to minimise the undesirable effects of chemicals in people's health and the environment.
The fruit fly is only an example of the scope of this project. The results of this research can serve to build a model for dealing with other pests affecting plant industries in support to control and management activities. Use of information based on science is necessary to educate general public on the identification of the variables that condition the spread of pests to the plant industries from urbanised environments. Acquiring this knowledge will help people support the State’s biosecurity activities while maximising the investment management/control/eradication strategies. If Western Australia can minimise the establishment or spread of invasive organisms in its own backyard then it can contribute to protect the health of plant industries in the other States and Territories of Australia.