Málþing um náttúrufræðimenntun

Erindi, kynningar og smiðjur.

Professor Nicola Spencer

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Föstudag kl. 13:40–14:20 Professor Nicola Spencer, chief Plant Health Officer

‘Responding to an increasing threat – protecting the UK from plant pests and diseases’


The plants and trees of this country are precious natural resources. They contribute to our food supply, our rural economy, and are essential to the biodiversity of the country. They shape the landscape, provide timber, they are part of our heritage and support our health and wellbeing providing much enjoyment. Yet the threat to the health of our plants and trees from pests and diseases is real and increasing. Globalisation of travel and trade and demands for a greater variety of plant species mean threats are ever-present. While we cannot eliminate all threats from occurring, we can strengthen protection, minimise impact and enhance the ability of our plants and trees to resist pressures. In the UK we have worked hard to improve standards of biosecurity for plants and trees. We have established a risk-based approach, world leading science and research, enhanced protection, surveillance and inspection. Yet the threat level is constantly evolving and we must take further action to keep pace with changing threats. By working collectively we can minimise the risks and strengthen our approach for example from potential threats like Xylella and Emerald Ash Borer. We all have a part to play to limit the spread of pests and diseases through simple actions when travelling, buying plants or visiting our woodlands and parks.


About the speaker

Professor Nicola Spence is Defra’s Chief Plant Health Officer and is an expert in plant health and international plant trade. Previously Head of Plant Health and Chief Scientist at the Food and Environment Research Agency, Nicola is an experienced research scientist and has worked on virus diseases of horticultural crops in the UK and internationally. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, President of the British Society of Plant Pathology, President of the European Foundation of Plant Pathology, Honorary Professor at University of Birmingham, Visiting Professor in Plant Pathology at Harper Adams University and a Trustee of The Yorkshire Arboretum. She has a BSc in Botany from the University of Durham, an MSc in Microbiology from Birkbeck College, University of London and a PhD in Plant Virology from the University of Birmingham.

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