Resilience and the future of UK Treescapes

Edgbaston Room Lucas House
Friday 27 September 2019 (09:00-16:00)

To find out more about this workshop please email Deanne Brettle (Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences)


WORKSHOP LEADER: Professor Rob MacKenzie

Plants, as sessile organisms, are constantly exposed to abiotic (environmental change) and biotic (pests and pathogens) conditions. Trees, with an average life expectancy of centuries, have a strong immune system that allows them to survive these threats in normal circumstances. However, in the last few years, we have seen outbreaks of tree diseases such as ash dieback that we have not been prepared for. These events have been exacerbated by climate change (e.g. increased temperature and CO2 concentration) and globalization (e.g. movement of people and goods). The speed at which these phenomena are occurring simply leaves us and our forests, vulnerable to unexpected landscape changes. Much of the effort to control disease outbreaks is directed at operational responses to immediate threats, and there is a need, therefore, to focus on enhancing our fundamental understanding of plant-pathogen-environment interactions in the longer-term. It is clear that the successful implementation of effective strategies and solutions cannot be achieved by individual countries alone but is dependent on global effort. Therefore, global exchange of knowledge, common thinking and scientific collaboration towards forest biosecurity are urgently required.