New funding to address knowledge gaps in tackling Scotland's tree diseases

The Scottish Forestry Trust has launched a fund to support postgraduate research on tree health issues in Scotland.

Image: Andrew Hill
Image: Andrew Hill

Supported by a contribution from Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), the Tree Health Scotland Bursary Award Scheme will offer 50 per cent support for research addressing tree pest and pathogen issues of current or future concern.

The Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce noted in 2013 that significant knowledge gaps in epidemiology, surveying and surveillance, and detection of tree pests and diseases remain - coupled with a decline in scientific expertise.

The trust's chairman Guy Watt said: "Together with Forestry Commission Scotland we will be able to support important new research for Scotland and help in building capacity for future scientific expertise."

FCS policy advisor Hugh Clayden said: "In the last few years we have seen the emergence of several new pests and pathogens in Scotland's trees, woodlands and forests, many of them capable of causing serious damage.

"Climate change may also be an important factor in these pests and diseases establishing and spreading. There is no doubt that we need to greatly improve our understanding of this important aspect of woodland management and I welcome the introduction of this new bursary scheme."

The scheme is available for applications now and full details can be downloaded from The Scottish Forestry Trust website. It is expected to support five doctorates completing over the next four or five years.

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