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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Effective communications on invasive alien species: Identifying communication needs of Swedish domestic garden owners

Palmer, C.; Wallin, A.; Persson, J.; Aronsson, M.; Blennow, K.


Invasive alien species threaten biodiversity with domestic gardens acting as a major pathway for the introduction of alien species. Even though the Nordic region is not currently a hotspot for biological invasions, the number of invasions in the Nordic area has been predicted to increase due to climate change. Given a time lag between introduction and invasion, many non-invasive horticultural alien species already introduced into gardens may become invasive in the future. This study aimed to identify the communication needs of Swedish garden owners regarding their management of invasive alien species. A survey among domestic garden owners, informed by topic specialists and local area experts, and interviews with garden owners were conducted in three different bio-climatic areas in a latitudinal gradient across Sweden. The questions targeted invasive alien species and their relations to biodiversity loss and climate change, as well as measures taken to control these species. Analysing the survey data collected in relation to measures taken to control invasive species, Bayesian Additive Regression Tree (BART) modelling was used to identify geographically varying communication needs of the domestic garden owners. In all study areas, the garden owners' measures taken to control invasive alien species were correlated with their strength of beliefs in having experienced local biodiversity loss. A majority of the garden owners were, moreover, uncertain about the impact of climate change on the invasiveness of alien species. In addition, the garden owners' capacity for identifying invasive alien species was often in need of improvement, in particular with respect to the species Impatiens glandulifera, Reynoutria japonica and Rosa rugosa. The results suggest that the evidence-based guidelines for effective communications we developed, have the potential to help communicators meet the local communication needs of garden owners across Sweden, in relation to the management of invasive alien garden species.


Invasive alien species; Biodiversity; Climate change; Effective communication

Published in

Journal of Environmental Management
2023, Volume: 340, article number: 117995