Study finds that response to disease in 1970s is useful today

The response to Dutch elm disease in the 1970s has important lessons on how to control the spread of Phytophthora ramorum now, according to research by the Rural Economy & Land Use Programme.

These include the need to raise awareness of the issue among policy makers and the public and to clarify the threat posed by the cross-border shipment of plants.

Project leader Dr Clive Potter of Imperial College London said: "Public awareness needs to be raised, not only in order to establish a stronger sense of personal responsibility for preventing the spread of plant diseases but also to elicit more support for restrictive measures and policies that may be necessary in the future."

On the role of plant importation in the spread of exotic pests, he added: "There is a need for analysis of the causes of the growing threat to biosecurity and of conflicts between those advocating further market liberalisation and those arguing for restrictions on trade in the interests of biosecurity."

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