to Forestry Commission home page
to Forest Research home page

Pathology research and services

Oak dieback - oak showing thinning crown
Oak dieback

Trees suffer from a wide array of diseases and disorders. Some are caused by living agents, such as fungi and bacteria, others by non-living agents such as frost and drought. Yet others are of complex origin, involving the interaction of several causal agents.

New problems are constantly appearing as a result of changes in the behaviour of disease-causing organisms, in tree care practices, in features of the environment, etc.

It is the role of the pathologist to investigate instances of damage, determine the cause and develop control measures or management strategies.

Pathology research within Forest Research encompasses trees in all settings:

  • Ancient woodlands
  • Commercial plantations
  • Parks, gardens and streets.

Disease diagnosis and advice

Information on disease problems is in great demand by foresters and arboriculturists. Pathologists in Forest Research produce books, leaflets, photo-guides and computer applications that can be used by experts, forest managers and the layman to identify some of the causes of ill-health. These include:

Related resources

Research programmes

Pathology research contributes to programmes within:


For further information contact:

Dr Joan Webber

What's of interest

Tree pests and diseases

The Forestry Commission Plant Health Service provides information about current tree health issues.