• Plant Health Centre

     

    To mark UK Plant Health Week (part of the UN’s International Year of Plant Health), we launched a set of 5 Key Principles, which outline important steps to protect Scotland’s plant resources.  We put together an information booklet that details these principles and our Directorate filmed a conversation to introduce the principles and furnish them with examples.  During the UK Plant Health Week we also brought these principles to life through a series of blogs or short YouTube videos, each highlighting the importance of plant health to some of Scotland’s iconic plant-based assets.

Sectors

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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Forestry movement restriction near Loch Carron after discovery of Phytophthora pluvialis

Woodland managers, landowners, the forest industry and tree nurseries are being urged to be vigilant following the discovery of P. pluvialis near Loch Carron in the north west of Scotland.
Scottish Forestry will impose movement restrictions to limit the spread of this fungus-like pathogen, known to affect a variety of tree species, including western hemlock, Douglas fir, tanoak and several pine species (in particular radiata pine).

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Plants on sale at a retail store 2021

Assessment of large-scale plant biosecurity risks to Scotland from non-specialist and online horticultural sales

This project focused on an initial exploration of tree and plant biosecurity risks to Scotland arising from large-scale movement of plants via non-specialist (those for which plants are not their primary product type, e.g., supermarkets, DIY and lifestyle stores) and online plant retailers. By better understanding the characteristics of these retailer types, the plant health behaviours they undertake, and the challenges they face, potential avenues were offered for greater engagement and collaboration on biosecurity with this important, but understudied and hard to reach sector.

 

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