Stakeholders’ knowledge on risks, benefits, and management of non-native trees species in urban, peri-urban and forest ecosystems in the Alpine region

The Interreg Alpine Space project ALPTREES (2019-2022), a Transnational Cooperation for Sustainable Use and Management of Non-Native Trees in Urban, Peri-Urban and Forest Ecosystems in the Alpine region, is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. For further information on the project activities please visit the ALPTREES homepage https://www.alpine-space.eu/projects/alptrees/en/home.

The Alpine region (Fig 1) is a sensitive ecosystem with a wide range of stakeholders who explicitly or implicitly influence tree species composition, the management and conservation of forests. Non-native tree species ( NNT hereafter) have long been a part of the Alpine region, the understanding, perception and management of which varies among the different stakeholders. Therefore, stakeholders’ perceptions and knowledge on risk and benefits as well as the management of NNT are extremely crucial in designing effective and harmonized policies. We kindly invite you to support our research by participating in this questionnaire survey and share your knowledge and suggestions on the management of NNT, within the Alpine region.

a) Approach
The questionnaire is organized into three main sections and aims to gather your perceptions about the identification of NNT, as well as their origin and relevance (section 1), benefits and risks of NNT on ecosystem services (section 2), and actions, attitudes and responsibility towards the management of NNT (section 3). The questionnaire starts with the socio-demographic information (please see the section on data protection). We kindly request you to provide valid information as this information will be very important for the subsequent analysis of the survey. Please refer to section concepts and definitions for terminology below at (b). This survey will take approximately 20 minutes of your time to be completed.

b) Concepts and definitions
For this study, the questionnaire will adhere to the following definitions:

TREEs are perennial woody plants with many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance, developing an arboreal structure even if multi-stemmed, including palms.

NON-NATIVE TREEs (NNT) refer to species, breeds or hybrids of trees that are not originally from the Alpine Space region (see map below) but have been introduced intentionally or accidentally by humans, after the year 1500.

INVASIVE trees include those non-native trees whose introduction, establishment and/or spread pose potential or actual risks to the native biodiversity, ecosystem functions, or socio-economy (including human health). For example, the definition includes non-native trees that spread outside their original site of introduction (e.g. plantation sites), become abundant and lead to major impacts on native species communities and ecosystem functioning.

Finally, by ECOSYSTEM SERVICES we refer to the contributions derived by ecosystems and biodiversity (including non-native trees) to humans, either as provisioning (e.g. food, wood, energy), regulating (e.g. water regulation, soil erosion protection, carbon sequestration) or cultural (e.g. recreation, inspiration, aesthetics) benefits.

c) Analysis of the survey
The responses provided to this questionnaire will be analyzed for scientific purposes only, by a research team from the Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape, Austria https://bfw.ac.at/ . Results from the analyses will be disseminated through technical reports, scientific journals and conferences. Results may be shared with the participants on request.

This study is being conducted by the ALPTREES partner institutions from Austria, Germany, Italy, France and Slovenia and has been approved by the ethical council of the respective partner institutions. For more information on this study, please contact our Project Manager, Dr. Katharina Lapin, at Katharina.lapin@bfw.gv.at

d) Confidentiality
Individual answers to this questionnaire will be treated as confidential and will be analyzed by the project team members only. The dissemination of results will be done collectively. Any opinion or particular information will be kept strictly confidential and the source of replies will not be shared. Your participation in this survey complies with the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, and therefore you may exercise the ARCO rights (Access, Rectification, Cancellation and Opposition). We keep in mind that the answers provided to this questionnaire do not express the institutions/organizations of the participants.


Our sincere thanks for your time and support. Your participation is very valuable for this study!
Map of the Alpine Space region (circumscribed by a dashed green line)showing the target territory for the application of the strategy of NNT to be developed in the ALPTREES project.
SECTION I SOCIODEMOGRAPHY
Name ( not mandatory)
Gender *
Age
Work institution / organization *
Current work position
Number of years at the current position *
Field of expertise (multiple answers possible) *
Required
Education (Options per education) *
Municipality ( your work area)
Country *
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