Final Report and Policy Document

Interdisciplinary Analysis of Plant Health Threats to Arable and Horticultural Crops in Scotland

Colorado Potato Beetle adults by David Cappaert

This project took a unique cross-disciplinary approach using biophysical risk modelling combined with social science methods to analyse the threat from emerging plant health threats to both arable and horticultural crops in Scotland.

A number of plant pests and diseases (PPD) emerged as being of particular concern to Scotland, with some of those identified having high unmitigated risk ratings in the Plant health Risk Register, such as Colorado Potato Beetle, the disease vector Hyalesthes obsoletus, pea leafminer, tarnished plant bug and potato virus S. The potato flea beetle was identified as a risk through travel and wheat stem rust was also considered as a substantial threat to Scotland due to its recent re-emergence in the UK and Ireland. The PPD listed as of concern by stakeholders did not align with those identified by risk modelling, highlighting a need for knowledge exchange to raise awareness and continued dialogue. Other recommendations included i) the need for an active list of present and emerging PPD in Scotland and of PPD interceptions at Scottish ports to be maintained and published; ii) PPDs flagged as being of high risk to Scotland should be prioritised for research into management and control methods and iii) Diversifying crop production systems should be considered to increase resilience, including use of resistant crop varieties, intercropping, mixtures of landraces, diverse uncropped vegetation, and modifying or adapting crop rotations.

We recommend reading the final report to get a full picture of the results along with the policy summary that highlights the key findings and recommendations. 

Image by David Cappaert ( licensed under CC BY-NC