Tree disease and bio-security to be examined by experts at woodland conference

The head of the Forestry Commission's Plant Health Service is among speakers who will address a conference to raise awareness of tree diseases and pests, and their implications and management.

The April event, organised by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) and Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE), is a response to concerns about the number of diseases currently affecting trees and woodland in Britain and the potential severity of their impact.

Scientists from Forest Research, the scientific research and technical development arm of the Forestry Commission, will make presentations in the first session of the day.

Head of pathology Dr Joan Webber, senior pathologist Dr Sandra Denman and senior entomologist Dr Nigel Straw will describe current trends in tree diseases, health issues affecting native British oak and pests and diseases of horse chestnut.

Roddie Burgess, head of the Forestry Commission's Plant Health Service, will speak on bio-security issues and Tim Rollinson, director-general of the commission, will chair the session.

The conference will discuss the challenges that tree diseases pose, in the context of conservation, economic and societal implications of epidemics and how they might be tackled.

Speakers include Jonathan Hazel (Parkwood Holdings head of arboriculture), Keith Kirby (Natural England forestry and woodland officer) and Tony Kirkham (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew head of arboriculture).

The conference will be held on 21 April at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

For further details see the Royal Agricultural Society's Tree Diseases Conference site.


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