There are many things you can do to prevent or minimise the introduction, establishment, spread and impacts of tree pests and diseases, including:
- learning to recognise and report pests and diseases of concern
- adopting good biosecurity practice to avoid the spread of organisms from place to place
- not bringing soil or plants back from holidays abroad
Understand the threat to our trees
The damage to our trees, woods and forests from insect pests and organisms such as bacteria and fungi is significant. The rapid increase in movements of goods and people between countries has increased the risk of spreading pests and diseases. They can travel hidden in plants, plant products, packaging, wood, vehicles and holidaymakers’ luggage - even in the soil carried on shoes.
Some of these pests and diseases do little harm in their native environments, where predators, environmental factors and co-evolution with their host plants keep them in check. However, they can cause significant damage to trees and plants in other countries where those limiting factors are not present. Some single species of insect, fungus or bacterium can damage or kill dozens of different plant species, including trees. As well as causing economic losses for the forestry, timber and plant-based industries, they can disrupt other sectors, such as tourism, and threaten woodland biodiversity, ecosystems and native species.
Get notifications about tree pests and diseases
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Make a general enquiry about tree, woodland and forest health in England
For the rest of the UK, see:
You can also find more information on scientific research into tree pests and diseases.