The Global Forest Health Crisis: A Public Good Social Dilemma in Need of International Collective Action

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Geoffrey M Williams, Matthew D. Ginzel, Zhao Ma, Damian C. Adams, Faith Campbell, Gary M. Lovett, María Belén Pildain, Kenneth F. Raffa, Kamal J. K. Gandhi, Alberto Santini


Society is confronted by interconnected threats to ecological sustainability. Among these is the devastation of forests by destructive non-native pathogens and insects introduced through global trade, leading to the loss of critical ecosystem services and a global forest health crisis. We argue that the forest health crisis is a public good social dilemma and propose a response framework that incorporates principles of collective action. This framework will enable scientists to better engage policymakers and empower the public to advocate for proactive biosecurity and forest health management. Collective action in forest health will feature broadly inclusive stakeholder engagement to build trust and set goals; accountability for destructive pest introductions; pooled support for weakest-link partners; and inclusion of intrinsic and non-market values of forest ecosystems in risk assessment. We provide short-term and longer-term measures that incorporate the above principles to shift the societal and ecological forest health paradigm to a more resilient state.



Agricultural and Resource Economics, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Science, Agriculture, Behavioral Economics, Biodiversity, Biology, Biosecurity, Botany, Economics, Entomology, Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology Life Sciences, Environmental Studies, Forest Biology, Forest Management, Forest Sciences, International Relations, Life Sciences, Microbiology, Other Forestry and Forest Sciences, Other Plant Sciences, Pathogenic Microbiology, Plant Biology, Plant Pathology, Plant Sciences, Political Science, Science and Technology Studies, Social and Behavioral Sciences


biological invasions, climate change, conservation of biodiversity, global change, natural resource policy


Published: 2022-03-11 08:22

Last Updated: 2022-03-16 23:47

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