Mariella is a social anthropologist and senior social researcher at Forest Research with over 15 years of experience in agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors in the UK and internationally. Mariella currently leads a number of interdisciplinary research projects and/or work packages related to the human dimensions of species management, tree and plant biosecurity, stakeholder engagement and risk management and communication. Recent projects have covered species such as Dothistroma needle blight, Asian longhorn beetle, Oak processionary moth, Emerald ash borer, Phytophthora sp., grey squirrels and rhododendron ponticum. Mariella also established and chairs the IUFRO Working Party on the “Social Dimensions of Forest Health” and is an Honorary Fellow at the University of St Andrews.
This project is being conducted on behalf of the Plant Heath Centre, Scottish Forestry and NatureScot and aims to better characterise the threat of BBB to Scotland.
Impact: Draw together available evidence and, where feasible, gather new evidence relating to the threat of Bronze Birch Borer to Scotland; and provide information to inform contingency plans and make recommendations for further work to refine the evidence.
Impact: Determine the main barriers to ensuring that future planting for environmental restoration and conservation will minimise plant health risks.
Impact: Provide Scottish Government policy with an assessment of the major biosecurity pitfalls and opportunities arising from large-scale landscaping plantings.
Impact: This project will enable policy to identify and prioritise plant biosecurity vulnerabilities from non-specialist and online horticultural sales.
Impact: Improved understanding of concepts and options amongst the Scottish stakeholder community; a basis for gap analysis by the PHC.
PHC commissioned an assessment of large-scale biosecurity risks with a focus on three areas of concern: (1) non-specialist and online horticulture sales; (2) landscaping and infrastructure; (3) planting for environmental benefits. An additional area was the potential for modelling to support decision making across these areas of concern. This policy report summaries each report and highlights the key findings and suggested actions.
Assessment of large-scale plant biosecurity risks to Scotland from non-specialist and online horticultural sales
This project focused on an initial exploration of tree and plant biosecurity risks to Scotland arising from large-scale movement of plants via non-specialist (those for which plants are not their primary product type, e.g., supermarkets, DIY and lifestyle stores) and online plant retailers. By better understanding the characteristics of these retailer types, the plant health behaviours they undertake, and the challenges they face, potential avenues were offered for greater engagement and collaboration on biosecurity with this important, but understudied and hard to reach sector.
Assessment of plant biosecurity risks to Scotland from large scale plantings for landscaping and infra-structure projects
Planting for large-scale landscaping and infrastructure can typically involve tens of thousands of individual plants, potentially threatening plant health in Scotland due to the biosecurity risks of imports and widespread planting of infested or diseased plants. This project aimed to understand the extent and means to mitigate against such plant biosecurity risks with a focus on mapping the pathways from plant specification through to planting and establishment and highlight different biosecurity awareness for actors, in decision-making and procurement processes.
Assessment of plant biosecurity risks to Scotland from large scale tree plantings for environmental benefits
This report features five case studies from across Scotland and examines risks associated with large scale tree planting schemes, levels of awareness around pests and diseases, and how the decisions and actions of those involved can serve to reduce or exacerbate pest and disease related threats and long-term tree health. Each case study was unique in respect to their combination of location, site conditions, ownership, management objectives, species choice, supply chains and management activities. By highlighting best practice and lessons learned, it was hoped to ensure that future planting schemes can be successful and, importantly, reduce the likelihood of pests and diseases being introduced and spread into the wider environment.
The potential of ecological and epidemiological models to inform assessment and mitigation of biosecurity risks arising from large scale planting
Large scale planting projects linked to infra-structure such as transport networks and major housing projects or to planting for environmental benefits (e.g. urban greening, woodland restoration) pose high biosecurity risks due to the high number and types of plants involved. This report focusses on whether and how ecological and epidemiological model frameworks can inform assessment and mitigation of biosecurity risks from large scale planting using a combination of literature review and stakeholder engagement.
Status, Scottish specific issues, Plant Health Centre perspective and Key priorities and recommendations concerning the threat from Oak Processionary Moth to Scotland.