Innovation in Plant Biosecurity 2017 is a major conference that will bring together plant health professionals and animal health and invasive species experts from across Great Britain, to discuss novel strategies for improving plant biosecurity and establish a sustainable knowledge exchange. The conference is organised against the backdrop of the Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain, as released in 2014, and revisions to the EU Plant Health Regime, which are soon to be realised.
Professor Helen Roy of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is giving the keynote opening talk at the event.
Great Britain's forests, woods and trees are under threat from a growing number of pests and diseases. Many of these threats are alien; historically not present in the UK having been introduced from overseas. Some of these threats may reach the UK naturally i.e. as wind-borne spores from continental Europe; potentially one pathway for introduction of the disease ash die-back. The alternative and probably more common pathway of introduction is via human activity, especially trade; for example through the movement of infected plants (another pathway identified for ash die-back) or the shipping of goods associated with infested timber (as is suspected to be the case with the recent introduction of the Asian long-horn beetle into Kent in packaging crates for stone). These cases illustrate that existing biosecurity measures are vulnerable and that we need to do more to improve our nation's biosecurity and protect our plants and trees; both cultivated and in the wider environment.
The benefits of increasing biosecurity come in the form of reduced losses from plant pests and disease through robust prevention, early detection and effective mitigation. There are a number of ways in which biosecurity innovations can be imagined and realised and these are reflected in the four main themes of the conference:
- Emerging risks
- Movement and borders
Innovation in Plant Biosecurity 2017 will take place at the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ from 15 to 16 March 2017.