• 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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£2.2 Million new funding to safeguard Scotland's potato and bulb industries

The Scottish Government have committed £2.2 Million funding over 5 years for a project that will implement the recommendations of the PCN Working Group, which will be coordinated through the Plant Health Centre.

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EAB suitability scores: – colour scale represents suitability (green: high, white: low) and red dots represent known occurrence (2018-19)

Assessment of suitability for EAB invasion for Scotland and the UK

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has become a significant threat to ash trees in several countries (including USA and Russia) but is not yet present in the UK. We quantified climate and ecological factors affecting EAB suitability using native range data and conclude that southern England is a highly suitable habitat for EAB. Although currently less favourable, we project that Scotland will become increasingly suitable for EAB under climate change. Thus, EAB could threaten Scotland via trade with areas where it is present or, through spread from populations if established in England or Western Europe. Rapid spread of EAB has been observed in its US invasion. We therefore recommend further study and vigilance against EAB introductions into the UK.

 

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