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
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 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

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

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

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 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


A division of the Scottish Government providing scientific services and advice in support of agriculture and the wider environment, including plant pests and diseases, crop protection, and diagnostic services

Scottish Forestry tree health

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

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

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 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