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Business to team up with scientists to tackle Phytophthora

Author:  Forestry Commission
  14/03/2016
Last Updated:  14/03/2016

Nursery managers and other plant traders are being invited to take part in scientific research into Phytophthora infections in the trade.

A consortium of scientists led by the Forestry Commission’s Forest Research agency are inviting those involved in the plant trade to help in the Phyto-Threats Project. The project complements a ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign by the Forestry Commission and partners to promote good biosecurity practice at work to minimise the spread of plant pests and diseases.

Dr Sarah Green, senior forest pathologist at Forest Research, explained,

“As people in the trade are well aware, our plant trade and natural environments are being affected by a range of destructive Phytophthora organisms which have entered Britain from different parts of the world. They arrive and are spread around the country in soil, water, equipment and in the tissues of a large number of plant species, damaging business and ecosystems alike.

“We are looking for plant nurseries and traders to take part in this project to enable us to better understand the dynamics of Phytophthora spread and infection, and devise effective control measures. They can do this by sharing their expertise and experiences with us, and allowing us to sample water and plants at regular intervals during the project.

“In return, we will provide them with information about their Phytophthora risk, and work with them to reduce it. Ultimately the project will provide invaluable data which will help businesses to effectively manage their risk.”

Dr Green gave an assurance that all published data on nursery findings will be anonymous, and it will not be possible to identify any individual businesses from the published findings.

Anyone interested in an informal discussion about ways to get involved may contact Dr Green on sarah.green@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or telephone 0300 067 5000.

Further information about the Phyto-Threats Project is available on the Forest Research website at www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/phytothreats.