Our forests, woodlands and trees, along with many other important plants, are facing an increasing range of damaging pests and diseases as a result of international trade and the effects of a warmer, wetter climate.
In the past, with fewer threats to deal with, we have tended to treat these as separate issues. It is now time for a different approach, one which recognises the connections between these damaging agents and the way in which they are entering the UK.
This new approach is contained within the plan. It sets out an integrated approach towards a strengthened strategy to deal with serious tree and plant pests and diseases, the threats from which have increased with the expansion of global trade providing potential pathways for their entry into the UK.
It recognises that all trees, irrespective of whether they are in woodland, parks, gardens, streets, heathland, moorland or farmland, are at risk. It also recognises that some pests and diseases of trees affect a range of other plants, calling for an integrated, co-ordinated approach from all land management sectors.
The plan was developed in partnership with Defra, the Forestry Commission, the Food & Environment Research Agency (Fera), the forestry and horticultural sectors and non-government organisations (NGOs) to ensure that the UK takes an integrated approach to tackling pests and diseases of trees and woodland ecosystems.
The plan focuses on four key areas of activity:
- import controls
- practical actions
- communications and public engagement
Our Interim Tree Health Biosecurity Strategyfor protecting woods and forests provides direction for current activities. However, we will be reviewing the Interim Strategy in the light of the outcomes of the Action Plan.
Intermediate progress report (2012)