Do you consider plant health risk to the natural environment?

Author: Ruth Mitchell (James Hutton Institute)

Plant health risks associated with woodlands and forests are generally widely acknowledged, and considered during management operations, but across Scottish habitats more widely:

  • Are plant health risks considered during habitat management operations and in particular during habitat restoration and creation activities?
  • What are the potential risks to Scottish habitats and biodiversity from plant pests and pathogens?
  • What risk assessments and biosecurity guidance, if any, is generally followed during habitat restoration and habitat creation?

These are the questions that are currently being explored by Dr Ruth Mitchell from the James Hutton Institute who is working with NatureScot , and in particular Duncan Stone, on a Plant Health Centre fellowship.  The work will have three aspects. Firstly, an assessment of the risks posed by plant pests and pathogens to dwarf shrub heath communities. Secondly an assessment of if, and how, plant health risks are taken into account during habitat restoration and habitat creation, this involves a survey that we would like to encourage you to take part in. We are interested in finding out how aware those involved in habitat creation/restoration are of the potential plant health risks, what risk assessments they use and what guidelines they follow to minimize any risks. We are also interested in understanding what, if any new guidance with respect to plant health and habitat restoration/creation is required.  We would greatly appreciate your help in this study. The survey begins with a consent form and then asks a number of multiple-choice questions that should take around 15 minutes to complete:  Take the Survey

Finally, the work aims to develop best practise biosecurity guidance for habitat restoration based on discussion with stakeholders.

This fellowship has only recently started and we will update you on progress as the work develops. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more, please do contact Ruth on