Identifying key questions and leverage points for plant health in the natural environment

Project Lead: Ruth Mitchell
Host Institution: The James Hutton Institute, Forest Research, University of St Andrews
Project Date: 1 April 2024 to 30 March 2025
Reference Number:
Board, Post-It Notes, Pens (Rudy & Peter Skitterians from Pixabay)
The natural environment is at risk from a range of plant pests and pathogens that could have cascading effects on wider biodiversity. Outside of woodlands, these risks are rarely considered but are relevant across all habitats. Activities such as habitat restoration and creation as well as day to day land management could risk accidently introducing plant pests and pathogens through movement of dirty machinery, soil or plants. Biosecurity risk assessments are rarely conducted when doing such work. This work builds on two previous Plant Health Centre projects: one looking at plant heath risks to the natural environment and a second that developed a general framework for exploring leverage points to improve plant health. This project will produce a detailed map of stakeholders around existing and emerging natural environment work (e.g. including biodiversity credits, carbon credits, rewilding, community transfers). In discussion with stakeholders the project will develop a systems view of where their activities intersect with a need for plant health awareness and action and identify key leverage points for better biosecurity in the natural environment, that can rapidly achieve practical gains.

Image by Rudy & Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
Plant Soil Ecologist
Institution: The James Hutton Institute
Social and Economic Research Scientist
Institution: Forest Research
Social Scientist
Institution: Forest Research
Sustainability Scientist
Institution: University of St Andrews