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Observatree - An early warning system for tree health

Our trees face unprecedented threats from new and established pests and diseases.

Observatree is an exciting, four-year project which began in autumn 2013 to set up a new UK tree health early warning system using citizen science.

Harnessing the power of citizen science is critical to the project’s overall success. This is being achieved in two ways.

First, the project aims to encourage tree health professionals and people actively involved with trees to look out for and report any tree pest or disease sightings at the earliest opportunity. By doing this, the chances of eliminating or controlling future outbreaks can be maximised.

Second, the project has established a core network of 200 trained Observatree volunteers.  Their role is to support government tree health officers and scientists by undertaking survey work and helping to process and verify tree health reports received.

Observatree is:

  • promoting increased surveillance for tree pests and diseases;
  • encouraging all reporting of tree health concerns via Tree Alert; 
  • providing a UK-wide network of more than 200 trained specialist volunteers;
  • sharing information and resources on key tree pests and diseases; and
  • researching similar European tree health systems to share best practice.

Funded by the EU’s Life programme, Observatree is a partnership project. It is led by our Forest Research agency, and partners are Fera, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust. Supporting the project are APHA, Defra and Natural Resources Wales.

Visit the Observatree website to find out more, or sign up for updates.


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Last updated: 9th January 2018