New method for assessing future tree and plant disease risks

May 21, 2013

A new method for assessing the impacts and risks of potential future tree and plant pest and disease outbreaks has been developed by the University's Professor Robert Fraser as one of the key recommendations of the government report into biosecurity announced on 20 May.

Professor Fraser developed the new methodology as one of ten experts from leading universities sitting on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce.

The Taskforce's final report includes a recommendation to develop a 'prioritised UK Plant Health Risk Register' - which suggests use of a new 'horizon-scanning' methodology developed by Professor Fraser - as one of its key findings.

Professor Fraser said: 'My role on the Taskforce was very much one of looking ahead and finding a way of assessing impacts and prioritising the risks of future pest and disease outbreaks.

'One of the Taskforce's major objectives, as well as looking at ways the UK could strengthen its responsiveness and preparedness, was to find a way of assessing future economic, social and environmental impacts.

'That way, we can more effectively plan how to prioritise our spending to tackle future tree and plant pest and .'

The Taskforce was chaired by Professor Christopher Gilligan, of the University of Cambridge, and reported to Professor Ian Boyd, Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser.

It was established following the incursion of the Chalara pathogen into the UK from the European continent, which killed many .

Explore further: Italian olive tree disease stumps EU

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ash disease 'cannot be eradicated': UK minister

Nov 09, 2012

A deadly disease threatening swathes of ash trees in Britain cannot be eradicated, the environment secretary admitted on Friday as he announced plans to stem the growing problem.

Stopping the spread of ash dieback fungus

Apr 23, 2013

The destruction of trees as a result of the ash dieback fungus has been a growing concern among scientists, having seen its rapid spread across Europe since the 1990s.

Recommended for you

Italian olive tree disease stumps EU

12 hours ago

EU member states are divided on how to stop the spread of a disease affecting olive trees in Italy that could result in around a million being cut down, officials said Friday.

China starts relocating endangered porpoises: Xinhua

17 hours ago

Chinese authorities on Friday began relocating the country's rare finless porpoise population in a bid to revive a species threatened by pollution, overfishing and heavy traffic in their Yangtze River habitat, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.