Urban landscape evolution as a consequence of an invasive pest: the case of a small Sicilian town.
The Red Palm Weevil (RPW), after its accidental introduction in Italy in 2005, determined a progressive disruption of Canary palms mostly in the central and southern regions. As it is difficult to undertake the management of this pest, the possibility of substituting the killed/symptomatic palms with other ornamental trees has been recently discussed. In this context, understanding the citizens' needs about green areas can improve the management of public parks and urban greening. Involving citizens on the natural resource management using public participation processes is crucial. The case study of a small town of Sicily (Italy) was treated and the spread of this pest was monitored. Moreover, the possibility of substituting the killed palms with other ornamentals was discussed by involving a sample of the population through a direct survey aimed at detecting the preferences in respect to certain tree species (as potential substitutes of the killed palms) listed in a questionnaire administered face-to-face. The citizen's samples showed great interest in the green areas (97%) and indicated a traditional Mediterranean plant as Nerium oleander as the preferred palm substitute candidate.