Tree health and biosecurity Initiative to give milllions to pest and disease researchers

Research funders have come together in a multi-million pound bid to find ways of addressing current and emerging threats to UK forests, woods and trees from pests and diseases.

Credit: HW
Credit: HW

The multi-disciplinary Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative aims to generate knowledge to support the future health and resilience of trees and woodlands.

New Phytophthora pathogens, oak processionary moth, Dothistroma needle blight, acute oak decline, horse chestnut bleeding canker and horse chestnut leaf miner are some of the diseases cited by the initiative.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Defra, the Forestry Commission and potentially other research councils and devolved administrations are working in partnership to support research and build scientific capacity in the area of tree health and plant biosecurity.

The partnership has come together under the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) Partnership and will commit several million pounds over the next three to four years to help tackle the issue.

The initiative is intended to bring together specialists in tree or forest research, and scientists from the wider natural, biological, social, economic or other relevant research communities.

The first phase of the project aims to build research capacity by initially bringing scientists together at a meeting and workshop in London on 20 September to explore opportunities for collaborative working. The second phase will be a call to submit proposals for research grants, expected to be launched in April 2013.


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