Assessment of plant biosecurity risks to Scotland from large scale plantings for landscaping and infra-structure projects
Planting for large-scale landscaping and infrastructure can typically involve tens of thousands of individual plants, potentially threatening plant health in Scotland due to the biosecurity risks of imports and widespread planting of infested or diseased plants. This project aimed to understand the extent and means to mitigate against such plant biosecurity risks with a focus on mapping the pathways from plant specification through to planting and establishment and highlight different biosecurity awareness for actors, in decision-making and procurement processes.
Several potential ‘blind spots’ were highlighted in the planting pathway that may pose biosecurity risks, including a low biosecurity awareness, variable inclusion of biosecurity measures and lack of species diversity in plant specifications, changes to plants for planting or lack of completed planting. Also, variations between specification and actual planting could indicate a systemic challenge to biosecurity. Recommendations included i) scoping to improve biosecurity information for non-biosecurity specialist roles through targeted communication that clearly outlines what biosecurity means and identifies where the risks lie; ii)the importance of promoting the use of diverse species in landscaping projects and clarifying the importance of diversity for resilience to pests and diseases.; iii) opportunities to encourage biosecurity considerations in specifications and iv) a biosecurity risk assessment process that is monitored throughout the planning to planting process which could strengthen oversight of biosecurity issues. We recommend reading the final report to get a full picture of the results along with the policy summary that highlights the key finding and suggested actions.
Image Credit: Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow, finalist In the Landscape Institute awards 2020 for Excellence in Landscape Design. Courtesy of ERZ Limited