Fighting plant disease
Plant pests and diseases are spreading around the world faster than ever before and their impact is predicted to become ever more severe as climate change affects the environment.
Located in the RBGE Nursery, the new bio-secure facilities will provide a disease detection laboratory as well as a safe propagation environment for plants under threat from disease or extinction.
The facility will support research into the growing number of pests and pathogens that attack our plants and damage the environment, commerce and gardens, helping our scientists find solutions to difficult environmental challenges.
Watch the short film below to learn more.
Fighting plant disease
- Read video transcript
Time Description [Pete Hollingsworth] The Plant Health Hub is incredibly important in the face of increasing levels of pests and diseases in the natural environment. It’s very sad but true that with global trade there’s an increased frequency of disease outbreaks, pest outbreaks, and this is exacerbated by climate change, allowing pests and pathogens to establish in places that they previously couldn’t. [Fiona Inches] We are bringing plant material in from all over the world. Different areas have different pathogens and pest and disease. So if you then bring in a pest and disease into an unknown there’s no predator, there’s no control for it. So it is very likely to explode. You could say, “Well, doesn’t matter if we lose all the elms.” But then all the insects that used to live in that elm tree, where are they going to go? Where are the plants that they would pollinate, what’s going to happen with them? And everything is interconnected. And you just take one little bit out of that and the potential for everything to collapse is huge. [Dr Michelle Hart] Plant health is important to everyone. It’s our food security. It’s the natural resources economy. It’s our health and wellbeing and it’s the planet’s biodiversity The new facilities are purpose-built and they provide us with a clean bio-secure environment. [Fiona Inches] The wider benefits of the Plant Health Hub are probably about the knowledge that we are going to gain. We’ll be able to do more research on plant pest and pathogen, in an entirely secure environment where we are fully confident that nothing is going to escape from that environment. [Dr Michelle Hart] Plant health science is an emerging field and RBGE are at the forefront of this. The Plant Health Hub has been future-proofed to take into account any future legislation and law concerned with plant health. [Pete Hollingsworth] On a global scale, plant health threats to the natural environment are only just beginning to be realised, and the Plant Health Hub will represent an emerging centre of work in this area. We’re in the midst of a biodiversity crisis with elevated rates of extinction and recovery and restoration is important and doing that in a bio-secure fashion is essential.
Watch The Plant Health Hub with audio description.Watch with audio description
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