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ŠUMARSKI LIST 9-10/2015 str. 49     <-- 49 -->        PDF

point scale was offered from ‘I have never heard of it’ to ‘I know a lot about it’. As is shown in Table 1, the level of knowledge is either low or very low. The best knowledge and awareness (approximately 27%) was estimated by respondents in the case of Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), a quarantine pest in Serbia. The lowest level of knowledge (8%) was for the alien insect Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), which is also a quarantine species. A surprisingly low level of knowledge was estimated for Cryphonectria parasitica  (Murrill) Barr (Diaporthales: Cryphonectriaceae), fungus of Asian origin, which is common in Serbia  on chestnut trees and forests. Only 16.30% of respondents feel that they ‘know a lot’ about the selected pests and diseases. The majority of respondents (60.30%) answered that they have never heard of these tree pests and pathogens. According to their self estimated levels of awareness, 83.30% of respondents are not at all familiar with those pests and diseases which could pose the highest threat to our forests.
Concerning public awareness about the pathways of introduction of alien species, a large majority of respondents was of the opinion that imported plants and imported wood are the main pathways for the introduction of alien pests and pathogens (Table 2). Natural dispersion is also a concern of theirs, which is correct for pathogens and some pests. The level of public awareness of pathways is considered to be insufficient.
Respondents were asked to match the pest or pathogen with the symptoms on the infested or infected tree. They were successful in identifying the correct pairs in 4-11% of cases. The worst result was for Anoplophora glabripennis, and Agrilus planipennis, both quarantine species which could threaten our forest ecosystems once introduced into our country. Respondents were more successful in identifying Cryphonectria parasitica, which is already present in our forests. It could be concluded that the knowledge among respondents about the symptoms of alien pests and diseases is very low (Figure 5).
Governmental bodies are, by The Plant Health Act and related legislation, obliged to organise monitoring, inspections and to provide information in order to prevent the import and spread of quarantine pests and pathogens. Respondents were asked to give their opinion about the effectiveness of governmental measures (Table 3). The measures listed in the questionnaire were: quarantine, monitoring and surveying, border control, nursery inspections and the provision of information and public awareness.  The effectiveness of the measures was considered to be low. According to the mean value of effectiveness, one fifth of respondents judged quarantine, monitoring, information provision and public awareness as effective. The judgment about the effectiveness of border control and health surveys of nursery stock was even lower (18.25% and 18.75%).
Respondents were asked to choose from, and rank, 6 options related to who they would report to if they found a pest or a diseased tree. The options were local authorities, government, conservation groups or agencies, garden centres/nurseries, friends, family and neighbours or nobody. The results show that respondents most trust the nature protection agency, government and local authorities. Garden centres and nurseries and public enterprises managing forests