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Biosecurity - preventing the spread of harmful organismss

Biosecurity measures are practical steps designed to minimise the risk of introducing or spreading pests and diseases.

In a forestry context 'pests and diseases' refer to invertebrate pests (for example, insects) that are harmful to trees, and to diseases of trees caused by pathogens such as certain bacteria and fungi.

The threat to our forests and woodlands has never been greater. Increased global trade and the movement of goods between countries means an increased risk of spreading pests and diseases, which may travel hidden in plant products, packaging and shipping crates. Trees and plants in Britain are now vulnerable to a range of new pests and diseases, and outbreaks can seriously threaten sustainable forest management. In addition to economic losses for forestry and related industries, outbreaks can disrupt other sectors such as tourism.

CASE STUDY : FC officer cleaning boots before leaving site of Phytophthora lateralis infection of Lawson cypress trees at Blubberhouses, N Yorks, 2011

It is not always possible to see pests and diseases and they can be transmitted accidentally by people moving between different forests and woodlands. Pests are most often transported in soil or organic material, such as plant debris, that can be carried on footwear or by the wheels of vehicles and forest machinery. Diseases may also be spread via the equipment used for treework. Some pathogens are dispersed in water and so the risk of these being spread increases when conditions are wet.

National Plant Health Risk Register

Register of main threats to the UK's plants, including trees and woodland plants, with prioritised actions to improve our defences. 

Biosecurity measures

Guidance on good working practice.

Last updated: 11th July 2017