Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Committee Member

Shari L Rodriguez

Committee Member

David R Coyle

Committee Member

Patrick J Rosopa


Invasive forest insects and diseases are a problem affecting North American forests, and their intracontinental spread can be aggravated through the movement of contaminated firewood. We conducted a scoping review to assess trends and gaps in the existing literature, as well as patterns in behavior related to forest pest dispersal through firewood movement in North America. Of the 76 documents identified through our search, 24 met the inclusion criteria and were categorized based on five identified themes: 1) insect incidence in firewood, 2) insect dispersal via firewood, 3) recreational firewood movement, 4) firewood treatments, and 5) behavior and rule compliance. This scoping review found limited research about awareness and behavioral dimensions of firewood movement. To address the public’s awareness of forest health issues, and identify an effective mode of information and trusted messenger for conveying information about not moving firewood, we analyzed the data obtained from five surveys conducted between 2005 and 2016 (n=4,840). We selected age, race, gender, education level, and the type of area in which participant’s lived as independent variables that could predict awareness, and choice of mode of information and trusted messenger in linear regression models. Our results showed that awareness regarding invasive forest pests was low among participants. A flyer handed out when entering a state or national park, and receiving an email after making a campsite reservation were the modes of information that participants would be most likely to pay attention to. In addition, the State Department of Forestry was selected by participants as the most believable source speaking about forest health issues. Older participants and those with higher education levels were more likely to have greater awareness levels and to pay attention to the modes of information presented in the survey, while females and younger participants were more likely to believe the trusted messengers presented to them. Overall, we conclude that awareness is key for modifying behavior related to firewood transport; as such, educational campaigns with effective messaging strategies could be a successful approach to improving public outreach efficacy.



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