Author: Katherine Deeks, Biosecurity Officer.
Plant health is a large subject, and the science behind our understanding of pests and diseases is forever changing and advancing. Communication and collaboration are therefore key to ensure that we stay up to date with the latest developments, and we work closely with various groups and stakeholders to make sure that this happens.
The FC’s tree health team’s objective is to monitor the health of England’s woods and forests. We undertake a substantial amount of survey and monitoring work (more on this in a future post) and we work closely with other Government departments to achieve this. This includes the Plant Health Great Britain team, who monitor the import of wood products, and APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) who monitor nurseries and the import of plants and seeds.
We also work very closely with our colleagues in Forest Research (FR), the research agency of the FC. Part of this collaborative work is done via our online reporting tool; Tree Alert. Tree Alert allows anyone to submit a report of suspected ill health in trees which is then sent to the tree health diagnostics and advisory service team at FR to assess and decide if further investigation or action is needed. To submit a report, you will need to provide several pieces of information about the finding, including the specifics of the location and good quality photos. We can’t be everywhere all the time so it’s a really valuable tool, and helps us to gather information about the health of the nation’s trees.
Over the past few months, we’ve had a number of tree health regional events with representatives from the tree health team, FC regional teams, APHA and the private sector, providing updates and advice on tree health and biosecurity. They were very popular events and I found it a good opportunity to speak to people from many different organisations, including private land owners, and to hear what their experiences and concerns are regarding tree health. Engagement with our stakeholders is really valuable as it helps to ensure that we’re delivering the information and tools that are needed to help keep our trees healthy.
On the subject of engaging with stakeholders, within the FC there are a number of us on Twitter, tweeting about our daily work and our ‘hot topics’. And this isn’t the only FC blog either – Ruth Wilson is blogging about her experience on the FC’s graduate programme. So if you’re interested in a career in Forestry, or know someone who is – check out Ruth’s blog ‘The Blonde Forester’ as she chronicles her way through the graduate programme. Or even if you’re just interested in hearing more about the kind of work the FC does, take a peek!