Citizen Science Project Observatree to Benefit UK Tree Health
A new citizen science project is set to benefit UK tree health by providing an early warning system for signs of pests or diseases.
Observatree has trained over 200 volunteers in the last 12 months, who will be able to identify cases of tree diseases and record them through the Forestry Commission’s online tool, Tree Alert. The data will be used by both government agencies like Forest Research, and other forestry professionals, to action appropriate measures to combat the disease.
Strength in Numbers
Chief Plant Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spence, said: “Protecting our trees from the threat of pests and diseases is vitally important to us all, and this project is an excellent example of volunteers, NGOs and government working together to achieve more than we could alone.
“The forestry sector, with its wealth of expertise, has a particularly important role to play in protecting the future of our trees through keeping a look out for signs of tree pests and diseases, and reporting sightings through Tree Alert. Early warning systems such as this will give us the best chance of eradicating and controlling these threats.”
The project is a partnership initiative between Forest Research, the Forestry Commission, Defra and Natural Resources Wales, FERA, APHA, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust, and funded by the EU’s Life programme.