With plentiful rain and long summer day lengths, Scotland produces some of the highest yielding and best quality crops in the world. But conditions that promote good crop growth are often good for pests and pathogens too and in Scotland 15-20% of our crops are lost to pests and diseases annually.
Scotland has a remarkable assemblage of species and habitats with Atlantic, montane, boreal, arctic-alpine, and oceanic habitats in close proximity. However, pests and pathogens represent an increasing threat to these natural assets, and a particular challenge is the sheer complexity of the diversity of the natural environment in terms of the number of species that may be impacted.
The sector represents a major component of Scotland’s rural economy – providing significant employment and raw materials for wood processing industries. Sustainable forest management seeks to deliver these economic benefits alongside important ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and flood mitigation, provision of wildlife habitat and opportunities for recreation and a range of leisure activities. Pests and diseases threaten the continued long-term delivery of these benefits.
Scotland is renowned for the quality of its private and public horticultural collections, and its rich cultural history of plant collecting, allotments and gardening. Horticultural plantings are of significant economic value, as well as providing amenity, health and well-being, cultural and conservation resources. However, pest and pathogens represent a major threat to this highly diverse set of plantings.

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Plant Diseases in the Natural Environment

Plant Health Centre has launched a section of the website dedicated to Plant Diseases in the Natural Environment. This section lists threats to the natural environment, signposts other websites where further information can be found and provides advice on treatment and control.

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Arable field with hay bales

Impact on Scottish crops if the molluscicide metaldehyde is withdrawn

This report sets out estimates for the crop loss and value to Scottish crop production should the molluscicide metaldehyde be withdrawn. This would leave ferric phosphate as the only available chemical control option. Short term losses are negligible as the substitution of ferric phosphate carries no additional treatment costs and has equivalent efficacy. Longer term there is some risk should resistance arise to this single site mode of action active, and ferric phosphate (although of lower mammalian toxicity to metaldehyde) has some environmental impacts of its own.


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Our Next Event

28 May 2019, 9am - 3pm

Scotland's Plant Health Conference was held at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel next to Edinburgh Airport on 28th May 2019, and was attended by over 120 stakeholders from across the four main sectors (Environment, Horticulture, Forestry and Agriculture) as well as Scottish Government officials, including the Chief Plant Health Officer for Scotland. We are grateful to Minister Mairi Gougeon for opening the event.  

The Conference Programme is available here

Conference presentations:

Update on the Plant Health Centre; Xylella Session; Plant Health Centre Projects; Brexit Session; Climate Change Session  

Conference posters:

Climate Change; Emerald Ash Borer; Environmental Online Resource; Mobile TechnologiesPCN; Pesticide WithdrawalsPlant Health Dissemination; Scottish BiodiversityXylella Risk Mapping; Xylella Surveillance;Zebra Chip

This is the first time the conference has been held and combines both the Scottish Government's Plant Health Forum and the Plant Health Centre's annual stakeholder event.