Sceptical Scot - Battling pests and diseases: Scotland’s new plant health centre

Image of field by Fay Young

A new science centre of expertise has been set up to tackle threats to plant life in Scotland – but why do we need it?

The Scottish Government-funded Plant Health Centre of Expertise, which pulls together plant health specialists from ten institutions, has been launched to support Scotland in dealing with the many threats to its plant life across plant sectors including forestry, horticulture, environment and agriculture.

In Scotland, as in the rest of Europe, we lose 15-20% of our crops to pests and diseases even though we have some of the most advanced agricultural systems anywhere in the world.

Plants are often seen but largely go unnoticed as we go about our daily lives, yet plants are essential to us and to most if not all other life around us.  They are essential for regulating our climate, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the furniture and houses we build, and our social wellbeing as we tend the flowers in our garden or walk in the hills.  While we might often take plants for granted, there are lots of other organisms that do not, including those that live, breed and feed on them.  Many of these organisms are harmless and some play essential roles in promoting plant life, for example the bumble bee and its role in pollination. Others are positively harmful and, in the course of their lives, can devastate the plants they interact with and therefore the wider environment that these plants help to support.

 

Read more here.