Keep it Clean – don’t give pests and disease an easy ride

Author: Katherine Deeks, Biosecurity Officer.

Much of my work is centered on communicating the importance of tree health and biosecurity, which includes working on the FC’s Keep it Clean campaign. This was first launched in February 2016, aimed at those working in industry (forestry, arboriculture and landscaping), but we have recently released some videos for forest and woodland visitors, including the animation above.

Trees provide many goods and services which we rely on, so it’s important that everyone plays their part in protecting the health of our trees.  Everyone can do this, whether you’re a forester, an arborist, or woodland visitor.  The main way in which can help protect our trees is to reduce the movement of potentially infected material from site to site as pests and diseases can be found in soil, organic material (leaves, timber, woodchip and firewood) and water.  Just by simply cleaning our boots, bikes, tools etc. between sites we can reduce the risk of moving potentially infected material around with us and introducing it to new sites.

And that’s what the Keep it Clean campaign aims to do – to get everyone to help keep our trees healthy by undertaking every day, basic biosecurity actions so that infected material is not moved from site to site.  Whilst pests and diseases can be spread via natural pathways, such as wind, rain and animals, people have the ability to spread them much further and faster.

We’ve worked very closely with partners to create and deliver the Keep it Clean campaign and all of the guidance is based on evidence which demonstrates how effective our actions can be .  If you’re interested in finding out more about what tree pests and diseases we have in the UK, and ones that are on our horizon, take a look at our online resources which have a wealth of information.  And if you spot any suspicious ill health in trees report it to us via Tree Alert.

If everyone plays their part, we can improve the future health of our trees by undertaking basic biosecurity whilst we’re out either working or visiting our woods and forests.

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