Integrating natural and social science perspectives on plant disease risk, management and policy formulation

Peter Mills, Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz, Brian Ilbery, Mike J. Jeger, Glyn Jones, Ruth Little, Alan MacLeod, Steve Parker, Marco Pautasso, Stephane Pietravalle, Damian Maye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Plant diseases threaten both food security and the botanical diversity of natural ecosystems. Substantial research effort is focused on pathogen detection and control, with detailed risk management available for many plant diseases. Risk can be assessed using analytical techniques that account for disease pressure both spatially and temporally. We suggest that such technical assessments of disease risk may not provide an adequate guide to the strategies undertaken by growers and government to manage plant disease. Instead, risk-management strategies need to account more fully for intuitive and normative responses that act to balance conflicting interests between stakeholder organizations concerned with plant diseases within the managed and natural environments. Modes of effective engagement between policy makers and stakeholders are explored in the paper, together with an assessment of such engagement in two case studies of contemporary non-indigenous diseases in one food and in one non-food sector. Finally, a model is proposed for greater integration of stakeholders in policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2035-2044
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1573
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dickeya
  • Phytophthora
  • Policy formulation
  • Risk governance
  • Stakeholder engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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