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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Call for ProjectsFurther Info / Submit Project

There are currently two calls for projects


  • Centre project: Monitoring for the Brown Marmorated Sting Bug (BMSB) Halyomorpha halys in Scotland (PHC2019_01) 

  • Undergraduate vacation bursaries


The deadline for applications is 6th May 2019


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Plant imports and exports in a no deal Brexit

New information has been published for UK importers and exporters of plant material to and from the EU in the event of a no deal Brexit. This information includes fact sheets, a number of scenarios and questions answered.

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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Impact on Scottish crops if the molluscicide metaldehyde is withdrawn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

30 Jun 2019 9am - 4 Jul 2019 5pm

THE HAWKHILLS, Easingwold, York, YO61 3EG

Prof Ian Toth will present his views on 'Reducing the burden of crop pests and diseases' for the closing plenary of the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School 2019