Recommended Sources

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


About This Page

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. It should be noted that most information on these webpages concerns non-native invasive species (INNS) or those which have recently become problematic, possibly due to climate change. However, there are many native pathogens that have evolved with their hosts and are commonly encountered in the natural environment. See Getting Started for good places to begin in identifying both native and INN pests.

Getting Started

Good places to start in the identification process include the CABI Fieldguide for the identification of Damage on Woody Sentinel plants, CABI Plantwise Diagnostic Field Guide (for crops but very useful) and also Diseases and Disorders of Forest Trees. Futhermore there are several websites with information on common disease causing organisms in the natural environment including the tree decay fungi webpage of GMC Arboriculture and First Nature. If you need help identifying insects then you could contact the Royal Entomological Society, the RHS, or SASA.The Aboricultural 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'. 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 wesbite 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

CABI provies comprehensive cross sector information including plant health via the Plantwise portal

CABI online book

Fieldguide for the identification of Damage on Woody Sentinel plants. This guide is recommended as the first step in disease identification of trees and shrubs

DEFRA - pest and disease factsheets

Fact sheets on notifiable and non-notifiable pests and diseases

Farm Forestry New Zealand online publication

A Guide to Conducting Forest Health Assessments and Sampling

Forest Pathology

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

Forest Research

Tree pest and disease posters

Forest Research

Pest and disease resources on specific tree and woodland problems 

Forest Research publications

Publications on protecting trees and tree health with information on many diseases

Forestry Commission book

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

Forestry Commission Top Tree Diseases

The top tree diseases in the UK website provides information on diseases, research, regulations and biosecurity mostly via the UK Government Tree Pests and Diseases


Observatree provides a list of pests and diseases that are being monitored and provides detailed information on them

Online book

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

Plantwise (CABI)

Comprehensive resource with searchable knowledge bank and diagnostic tool

Plantwise (CABI) online book

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

RHS advice search

Search pages with profiles and advice on plant diseases and disorders

Royal Forestry Society

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

The Arboricultural Association

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

UK Government guidance

UK Government 'Find a specific Pest of Disease'  provides information on organisms either present in Great Britain or posing the greatest threat of entering, and lists by host or threat

UK Government Tree Pests and Diseases

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

USDA Forest Service online publication

USDA Forest Service IPED Field Guide - Pest Evaluation and Detection