Humans are thought to be responsible for the most rapid spread of kauri dieback – through being carried in soil on footwear, on tyres, machinery and other gear. Surveillance suggest that spread has been strongly noted near walking tracks.
PUBLIC AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Effective communication is very important in order to engage with the public and community. Without the support of the community we don’t have a ‘social licence’ to operate (i.e. ongoing approval within the local community and other stakeholders). This makes managing the disease near impossible as everyone who visits a kauri forest needs to do their part in helping us reduce the spread of the disease.
We have done further research into identifying factors that influence people’s responses, perceptions and attitudes towards kauri dieback, and improving how we communicate the key messages in the signage we use.
To reduce the likelihood of spread by human activities, the Programme is focused on researching human behaviour.
Although there has been a significant increase in the level of awareness of kauri dieback amongst forest users over the years, there is still a large number of people who do not follow the correct hygiene protocols at cleaning stations or keeping to walking tracks. Only a pinhead size of soil is enough to spread the disease. If cleaning stations are not used or incorrectly used, then the disease will spread.
Subsequently, we have developed a number of behavioural change initiatives to determine whether they are effective in improving people’s behaviour at cleaning stations so they use the cleaning stations and use them correctly.
Risk posed by different vector types for the spread of kauri dieback
Through a series of surveys involving a number of questions posed to user groups, a list of high risk human activities was compiled based on user groups level of understanding of kauri dieback.
There was an inconsistency of peoples understanding of kauri dieback. All user groups could benefit from type specific information and education. Recreational users are mostly unaware of kauri dieback followed by tourism. Training, certification and best practice were all suggestions made by user groups to improve awareness.
Kauri dieback survey report
Comparing awareness and compliance behaviours from 2011 to 2016.
Overall awareness of kauri dieback has increased significantly from 31% in 2011 to 67% in 2016. However, there was no significant increase (p>.05) in six compliance behaviours between 2011 and 2016. Note, there was a significant increase in self-reported use of disinfectant from 28% to 40%. Most users want to know more about the disease and would support wider communications. Dog owners report significantly lower knowledge about the disease. People are supportive of actions but there's a feeling among some that their personal actions can't make a difference, however vast majority who has taken some action think its important to do so. Main barrier to action is a lack of awareness of when kauri are near and lack of awareness of the disease in general. There is a view that kauri are just one of many threatened species in NZ. Four in ten people who used disinfectant, used it incorrectly. A large number of forest visitors look for information before spending time in the forest.
Factors influencing public responses to kauri dieback control measures
Identifying factors that influence peoples responses, perceptions and attitudes towards kauri dieback controls.
Overall high level of awareness (75.7%) and past compliance with stations (88.9%) and track usage (78.2%). Lower compliance amongst younger visitors, the less educated, visitors outside AKL and those of Asian, Maori or Pacific ethnicities. Lower rates of awareness did not necessary translate to lower compliance. A focus on positive messaging and publicize compliance rates to reduce scepticism and demonstrate positive social norm. Education is clear and minimise the perceived threat to activities.
For a view into the complete library of programme research and reports please see our Science Stocktake.
If you have any questions in relation to this area of research or the supporting reports please contact the Kauri Dieback team on the details below.
Please note that as more information becomes available on the nature of kauri dieback disease and the pathogen that causes it, some of these papers may be superseded.