News story

Reducing pine weevil damage in forests: apply for contracts

Organisations can apply for a share of £150,000 to develop innovative ways of protecting young forest trees in Scotland from damage by pine weevils.

Moody sky over Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in Scotland By Dmitry Naumov at Shutterstock

This SBRI competition is seeking innovative, cost-effective ways to establish young trees in Scotland and reducing death caused by pine weevil damage.

Forest Enterprise Scotland has up to £150,000 for projects that look at ways of reducing death among young forest trees due to pine weevil damage.

The best projects could then go on to receive a further £200,000 each to field test their ideas.

Address a significant pest to newly-planted trees

Large pine weevils predominately breed in the stumps and roots of felled conifers. The species is the most serious pest of young trees that are newly planted on sites where conifers previously provided the majority of tree cover.

Adult weevils lay their eggs on stumps, with the young emerging to feed on seedlings. They can damage and kill Scots pine, all conifers and many native broadleaved species. The financial impact to land managers is estimated to cost around £40 million a year.

There is also a growing challenge in controlling pine weevils due to the warming climate and changes in insecticide regulations.

This competition is supported by the CAN DO Innovation Challenge Fund and is funded under the SBRI programme (Small Business Research Initiative).

Help for young forests to establish

We are looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to establish young trees in Scotland by reducing death caused by pine weevil damage.

Projects could look at:

  • predicting the severity of weevil damage in advance
  • protecting young planted trees
  • rapidly reducing the damage being caused by high populations of weevil
  • suppressing the population of weevil in the longer term and wider landscape

These must comply with the UK Forestry Standard.

The first phase of the competition is to demonstrate the technical feasibility of an idea and its potential to improve the establishment of forests through pine weevil reduction. The second phase will allow successful projects to prototype and field test their ideas.

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 10 September 2018, and the deadline for registration is at midday on 31 October 2018
  • any organisation that can demonstrate a route to market for its idea can apply
  • we expect phase 1 contracts to be worth up to £30,000 and to last up to 5 months, and phase 2 contracts to be worth up to £200,000 and last up to 22 months
  • successful projects will attract 100% funded development contracts
  • you can register for a briefing event on 15 October 2018 to find out more about the competition and how to make a quality application
Published 5 September 2018