Don’t give pests and diseases an easy ride

Becki Gawthorpe, Biosecurity Outreach Officer with the Forestry Commission, discusses the pests and diseases Future Foresters may face.

By Becki Gawthorpe · August 1, 2019

Our trees, woodlands and forests are vital economic, environmental and social assets, but they are under an increasing threat from the introduction and spread of harmful tree pests and diseases. Human activity is a key factor in their spread. We have the ability to move pests and diseases around much further and faster than they can by natural dispersal.

Did you know? …

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is being spread in firewood in North America and is responsible for the loss of millions of ash trees.

Emerald Ash Borer

I have come up with four important commitments you can make: Since the early 2000s we have seen a significant increase in the number of non-native tree pests and diseases being introduced to the United Kingdom. This demonstrates the need for us all to take action to provide our trees, woodlands and forests with greater protection. As a future forester /arborist there are a number of commitments you can make to assist in safeguarding the future of our trees from the introduction and spread of harmful pests and diseases.

  • Carrying out routine biosecurity control measures, such as regularly cleaning clothing, PPE, tools, equipment and vehicles
  • Keeping up to date with tree health legislation that might impact your work
  • Sourcing planting stock from a reputable supplier
  • Managing tree populations to increase species and genetic diversity

Can you think of anymore?

It is important as foresters and arborists that we increase our knowledge of tree pests and diseases and the impact they can have, so that we can provide our colleagues and clients with up-to-date information and guidance, and to allow us to specify appropriate control measures.

Now is a very exciting time to be stepping into the forestry and arboricultural sector, but remember … Keep it Clean!

Becki Gawthorpe

Biosecurity Outreach Officer with the Forestry Commission

Becki Gawthorpe is a Biosecurity Outreach Officer with the Forestry Commission and was one of the speakers at our Future Foresters Skills Day on 4 October  2019 at Shuttleworth College.