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 invasive non-native 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 Field Guide 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. Furthermore 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 you could contact the Royal Entomological Society, the RHS, or SASA. 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'. 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

An initiative to protect oak trees

APS advice pages

American Phytopathological Society directory of very comprehensive plant disease information pages


Arborist website with tree health forum


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


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 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

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 fact page

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

Forest Research guidance

Urban Tree Manual  - with some information on plant health

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.


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


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

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

Royal Forestry Society

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

Scottish Forestry guidance for pine woods

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

Scottish Government Plant Health

Overview of Scottish Government plant health policy, strategy and guidance

Scottish Government Plant Health Strategy

The Scottish Plant Health Strategy


Tree and Design Action Group - green infrastructure tree species selection guide with limited pest and disease information

Tree Care Forum

Arborist website with search facility for discussions including on tree health

UK Government topical issues

UK Government updated news on issues relating to plant health

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