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Title: Valuing community engagement in biosecurity surveillance
Contributor(s): Cacho, Oscar  (author)orcid ; Reeve, Ian  (author); Trammell, Jamie  (author); Hester, Susie  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2012-08-15
Open Access: Yes
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Open Access Link: Access Link

Although there is evidence that passive surveillance services provided by the public can be very valuable (in terms of both reduced program costs and increased probability of success in managing pests) little is known about the return on investment for this type of expenditure.

Enabling passive surveillance requires community information campaigns and incentive schemes. This takes funds away from other activities, so it is important to estimate the value of these campaigns relative to other alternatives, such as increasing active (structured) surveillance.

This project contributes towards an understanding of the value of passive surveillance provided by members of the community using a case study: the red imported fire ant (RIFA) eradication program in Brisbane. The RIFA program, managed by Biosecurity Queensland Control Centre (BQCC), is well documented. BQCC has an intense public awareness program with multiple activities, including broad and targeted coverage of distinct community groups and zones within the Brisbane area. We have combined data on community engagement events, reports from the public and nest detections recorded by BQCC, with census data to estimate relationships between demographic characteristics of an area and the likelihood that residents from that area will report encounters with RIFA.

In this report we present background information and hypotheses regarding the role of community surveillance in the management of biological invasions. This is followed by details of the datasets used and results of a number of analyses. We show the importance of the data clean-up process and identify the limitations that arise when a database designed primarily to track public reports is used for spatio-temporal analyses where accurate dating of events is important.

We also estimate the return on investment in community engagement in terms of the savings in structured-search costs it brings. This estimate uses probability maps to calculate the amount of active search that would have been required to detect all the known ant colonies in the period 2006-2010 if passive surveillance would not have been available. Assuming active search costs $400/ha we obtain a value of $52 million return per $1 million invested in community engagement.
Publication Type: Report
Publisher: Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis (ACERA)
Place of Publication: Australia
Field of Research (FoR) 2020: 330405 Public participation and community engagement
380105 Environment and resource economics
380101 Agricultural economics
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 180602 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments
HERDC Category Description: R1 Report
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Extent of Pages: 90
Description: ACERA Project No. 1004 B 2d
Appears in Collections:Institute for Rural Futures
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
UNE Business School

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