Knowledge Bank - Forestry

The purpose of this page is to signpost plant health information from across sectors that is relevant to forestry.

About This Page

The plant health information in these pages is aimed at practitioners in forestry and commercial tree nurseries. Much information is available online and in print to help identify disease symptoms, the organisms that cause them, and to provide guidance on management and biosecurity. Here we have collected sources we judge to be generally reliable for information on these topics. You can use the Resource Type button to filter, search by keyword, or scroll through all together. As well as native pathogens, there are invasive non-native species (INNS) affecting both exotic and indigenous trees, and other disease causing organisms which have recently become problematic, possibly due to climate change. See Getting Started for good places to begin in identifying both native and non-native pests and pathogens.

Getting Started

UK forest and plantation trees include both native and exotic species. Many of the common diseases of both these types of trees are well known and good places to start in determining identification include the CABI Field Guide for the Identification of Damage on Woody Sentinel Plants and Diseases and Disorders of Forest Trees. The Arboricultural Association also have a book shop where excellent guides can be purchased on 'Fungi on Trees', 'Tree Pest and Diseases' 'Managing Insects and Mites on Woody Plants' and 'Diagnosis of Ill Health in Trees'. The CABI Plantwise Diagnostic Field Guide is for crops but is very useful for the learning basics of symptom diagnosis. Furthermore, there are several websites with information on common disease causing organisms in forestry including the tree decay fungi webpage of GMC Arboriculture and First Nature. For help identifying insects you could contact the Royal Entomological Society or SASA. Extensive information about invasive non-native organisms (INNS) is outlined by Forest Research and, for native and long term naturalised trees only, in the Threats section of Diseases in the Natural Environment. Detailed information on most disease causing organisms can also be found on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank Database (Plantwise fact sheets). For general information on tree diseases, the Forest Pathology website is very useful. Whether the organisms are INNS or native pests and diseases, be sure to practice good biosecurity and take control measures where necessary.

Reporting Notifiable Pests

Most pests encountered will not be notifiable but if after checking diagnostic and specific resources you think you may have encountered a notifiable pest it is important that you report it quickly. In forest trees in Scotland notify Scottish Forestry via TreeAlert or by email, or if in any other plants notify the Horticulture and Marketing Unit at SASA. Outwith Scotland, consult the Plant Health Information Portal for other UK reporting contacts.

Resource Details Edit Content

An initiative to protect oak trees


Animal and Plant Health Agency - UK Government plant health controls and reporting of pests and diseases; information on certification schemes

APS advice pages

American Phytopathological Society directory of very comprehensive plant disease information pages


Arborist website with tree health forum

BALI advice and toolkit

British Association of Landscape Industries - Pest and Diseases section with Landscape Institute Toolkit for biosecurity guidance

BBSRC food security news

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council - current crop protection issues  and research in food security news


British Crop Protection Council - UK Pesticides Guide Online, subscription guides to the pesticides and biocontrol agents registered for use in the UK


British Society for Plant Pathology - news, events, and scientific publications related to plant pathology including new disease reports

CABI Plantwise

CABI Plantwise is an international organisation dedicated to reducing crop loss

CABI Plantwise field guide

Plantwise Diagnostic Field Guide a good guide for learning how to carry out disease diagnosis caused by pests and pathogens

CABI Plantwise knowledge bank

Comprehensive resource with searchable knowledge bank and diagnostic tool

CABI Plantwise pest alerts

Plantwise Knowledge Bank Pest Alerts are emails containing recent literature reports for a specified area

CABI Plantwise Toolkit

Plant disease advisory and diagnostic resources with UK and international capacity

CABI woody plants field guide

Field Guide for the Identification of Damage on Woody Sentinel Plants. This guide is recommended as the first step in disease identification of trees and shrubs

Caledon computer game

Manage a simulated forest in the face of disease epidemics and other threats. Computer game for ages 8+

California Oak Mortality Task Force

Extensive biosecurity and best practice guidelines for nurseries and wildland conservation projects issued by the California Oak Mortality Task Force, but relevant to most host plants and locations


Confederation of Forest Industries - Website with plant health webpages 

DAERA Plant and Tree Health

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland Government guidance for pests and diseases, pesticides, plant passporting, imports and exports, surveys and compliance

DEFRA factsheets

Detailed information pages on notifiable and non-notifiable pests and diseases

DEFRA reporting

UK-wide contact information for reporting notifiable diseases to authorities

DEFRA smarter rules for safer food

Government guidance on SRSF - a package of EU regulations to protect against plant and animal pests and pathogens

Defra tree health management plan

Defra's 2014 Tree Health Management Plan (England), including a synopsis of relevant research

Defra tree health resilience strategy

Defra's 2018 Tree Health Resilience Strategy

EPPO Don't Risk It kits

Downloadable posters from the EPPO Don't Risk It biosecurity campaign for plant movement with travel

FAO illustrated guide

An Illustrated Guide to the State of the Health of Trees By Eric Boa (CABI), published by the FAO

FERA biosecurity posters

Turning over a clean leaf - guidance in the forms of posters for biosecurity in woodlands and forests, parks and gardens, nurseries and gardens centres, and the countryside

FERA commercial biosecurity protocols

2012 publication with detailed guidance Nurseries, Retailers and Landscapers - Biosecurity Best Practice Protocols 

FERA diagnostics

Fera provides diagnostic services for plant diseases including viruses

Forest Pathology

Website with excellent information on disease types and other relevant topics. Very infomative and useful for general forest disease information

Forest Research

Forest Research has a search facility which can be used to find publications and research about specific tree health issues and also an updated plant health news webpage

Forest Research conifer root and butt rot biocontrol

PG Suspension is a biological control agent for Heterobasidion annosum (formerly known as Fomes annosus), licensed for use on Pinus in the UK

Forest Research diagnostics

The Tree Health Diagnostic and Advisory Service provides advice and where possible diagnosis and identification of tree pests and pathogens.

Forest Research fact page

Links to websites providing resources and guidance on managing resilient forests from Forest Research and the Forestry Commission

Forest Research newsletter

Subscribe to the Forest Research newsletter 

Forest Research pest and disease resources

Detailed information sheets on specific tree and woodland problems 

Forest Research pesticide guide

Forest Research Practice Guide on Reducing Pesticide use in Forestry, which contains general good practice advice on tree pest and disease management

Forest Research posters

Tree pest and disease posters

Forest Research spruce bark beetle biocontrol

Pest management of Great spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus micans) using a biological control agent 

Forest Research TreeAlert

TreeAlert is a facility to report notifiable pests and diseases, and to gather submitted information about the tree and forest health which supports monitoring and surveillance work

Forestry Commission biosecurity guidance

2012 document with detailed guidance for biosecurity in forests

Forestry Commission biosecurity poster

2012 poster from the Forestry Commission on good forestry industry biosecurity practices

Forestry Commission e-learning

Login as a guest and complete the Forestry Commission e-learning modules

Forestry Commission field book

Diseases and Disorders of Forest Trees (by S.C. Gregory and D.B. Redfern, 1998, Forestry Commission Field Book 16 )

Forestry Commission newsletter

Sign up for the Forestry Commission Tree Health News updates

Forestry Journal

Forestry Journal/Essential Arb - webpages with some articles on tree pests and diseases

HSE Chemicals Regulation Division

The Health and Safety Executive Chemicals Regulation Division is responsible for regulation of chemicals such as biocides and pesticides in the UK.

HSE pesticides

Comprehensive information on the use and regulation of pesticides including the register of authorised pesticides from within the UK Health and Safety Executive Chemical Regulations Division


Institute of Chartered Foresters - webpages with some information on tree pests and diseases

International Plant Sentinel Network

Sentinel plants in botanic gardens and arboreta play a vital role in providing information on future and/or known threats

ISPI advice page

International Society for Pest Information - Pest Information Wiki listing many plant pests and pathogens

James Hutton Institute ash dieback impacts

Fact page on the ecological impacts of Ash Dieback, including tools to aid conservation of ash associated biodiversity

James Hutton Institute oak decline impacts

Resource page on managing ecological impacts of Oak Decline, including management case studies and tools to aid conservation of oak associated biodiversity

Landscape Institute

Website has plant health and biosecurity webpages and a comprehensive Biosecurity Toolkit for practitioners

London Tree Officers Association

Provides advice on threats to tree health with comprehensive information on diagnosis and managment in a matrix

NNSS biosecurity advice fact page

GB Non-native Species Secretariat fact page with biosecurity advice and access to an e-learning biosecurity module

NZFFA forest health assessments guide

Easy to follow guides from Farm Forestry New Zealand for conducting forest health assessments


Observatree is a citizen science initiative providing an early warning system for tree health by carrying out monitoring and surveillance on specific tree diseases 

Observatree biosecurity advice

Observatree fact page with links to general biosecurity

Observatree blog

Observatree Blog with regular updates and information on monitored diseases

Observatree measures and guidance

Observatree page with links to biosecurity videos, posters and advice

Observatree newsletter

Sign up for the Observatree newsletter for regular updates on monitored diseases

Observatree priority pests

Detailed information on the priority tree pests and diseases monitored by the citizen science initiative

Pest Risk Register

A searchable or downloadable database which records risks from plant pests and pathogens, and can be searched by host as well as pest

Plant Health Centre newsletter

The Plant Health Centre produces regular downloadable newsletters

Plant passporting - DAERA

Government guidance on issuing plant passports in Northern Ireland

Plant passporting - DEFRA

Government guidance on issuing plant passports in England and Wales

Plant passporting - EU

New EU plant health rules with information on plant passporting

Plant passporting - SASA

Government guidance on issuing plant passports in Scotland 

Royal Forestry Society

Royal Forestry Society Pest and Diseases webpage provides links mainly to UK Government and Forestry Commission information

Royal Forestry Society case studies

Managing Ash Dieback - Case Studies 2019 possible scenarios and management responses for ash dieback

Scottish Forestry ash dieback

Fact page on Ash Dieback in Scotland, including information, impacts, and management guidelines

Scottish Forestry biosecurity

Keep It Clean biosecurity advice tailored to the public

Scottish Forestry Dothistroma needle blight

Fact page on Dothistroma Needle Blight in Scotland, including information, impacts, and management guidelines

Scottish Forestry guidance for Juniper

Scottish Forestry - Juniper Management Guidelines and planting guidance for Scotland

Scottish Forestry guidance for pine woods

Policy guidance on planting in Caledonian pine woods to reduce the risk of Dothistroma needle blight

Scottish Forestry ramorum disease

Scottish Forestry advice on Phytophthora ramorum in Scotland with biosecurity and replanting information

Scottish Forestry tree health

Information on tree health in forestry in Scotland from the Scottish Government

Scottish Government leaflet

Scottish Government's 2011 'Plants get ill too' leaflet for download

Scottish Government pesticides guidance

Government guidance on the use of plant protection products in Scotland

Scottish Government pesticides restrictions

Statutory management requirements providing guidance on the use of plant protection products

Scottish Government Plant Health

Overview of Scottish Government plant health policy, strategy and guidance

Scottish Government Plant Health Strategy

The Scottish Plant Health Strategy

SEARS biosecurity guidance

Scotland’s Environmental and Rural Services comprehensive biosecurity guidance

The Arboricultural Association

Tree disease identification and a comprehensive Biosecurity advice document for arboriculture and environmental sectors

The Voluntary Initiative - IPM plan

Integrated Pest Management plan for all farm or nursery enterprises using professional pesticides

Tree Care Forum

Arborist website with search facility for discussions including on tree health

UK Government biosecurity advice

Biosecurity advice for trees from the UK Government and links to useful rescources, including the 'Keep it Clean' campaign

UK Government biosecurity strategy

Policy paper (2014) with overview of the measures that UK administrations are implementing to improve plant biosecurity

UK Government report a tree pest or disease

Find out when and how to report a notifiable tree pest or disease in the UK

UK Government topical issues

UK Government updated news on issues relating to plant health

UK Government tree pest and disease guidance

UK Government Find a Specific Pest or Disease provides detailed information on priority tree pests either present in Great Britain or posing the greatest threat of entering

UK Government tree pests and diseases

A comprehensive directory of UK Government web sources with information on how to identify, report, prevent and minimise the introduction, spread and impacts of tree pests and diseases in the UK

UK Plant Health Portal

The UK Government (DEFRA) Plant Health Portal is an online hub for plant health information, data and resources. It links to the Pest Risk Register which records and rates risks from plant pests and pathogens

USDA Forest Service field guide

USDA Forest Service IPED Field Guide - Pest Evaluation and Detection