State-of-the-art tree health laboratory opens to help protect UK forests - Forest Research

A state-of-the-art laboratory conducting innovative research into tree pests and diseases has been officially opened today (Friday 13 May) by Defra and the Forestry Commission, as part of National Plant Health Week.

The £5.8 million Forest Research Holt Laboratory, located within the Alice Holt Forest in Surrey, will bring together leading scientists to undertake research on pests and pathogens which could be detrimental or seriously damaging to our forests. This will inform UK-wide efforts to combat ongoing pest and disease outbreaks, including from Oak processionary moth, Ips typographus and Phytophthora pluvialis, as well as emerging potential threats from abroad as a result of our warming climate, such as Emerald ash borer and Citrus longhorn beetle.

The launch of the Holt Laboratory and the Centre for Forest Protection represents a significant expansion of the UK’s capacity and capability to combat tree pests and diseases and manage emerging threats, including climate change. By assessing the pests and pathogens in a contained laboratory, scientists from Forest Research – Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research – will be able to study them in a safe and controlled manner using cutting-edge technology and equipment.

New statistics released by Forest Research today show a record number of tree pests and diseases are being reported. The TreeAlert service received 3790 reports from the public over the past year (April 2021 –- March 2022) – a nearly 25% increase on the previous year. The most commonly reported pest and disease were Oak processionary moth and Ash dieback, respectively.

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Posted On: 13/05/2022

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