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Annual Sean McBride Forestry Lecture

The threats posed by pests and pathogens to the forest resource on the island of Ireland

This event will accrue 15 CPD points

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Lecture by Dr Richard O'Hanlon, Plant Pathologist, Sustainable Agri-Foods Division, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Northern Ireland.  

The plant health of the island of Ireland has always been of a very high status, being protected from the pest population in mainland Europe by its island status and the prevailing westerly winds from the Atlantic. However, in recent years the number of threats has been increasing, possibly due to (i) increasing globalisation and trade and (ii) global warming. Reoccurring pests such annosus root rot and green spruce aphid are a constant forest health threat, while new emerging pests such as Phytophthora species and Xylella fastidiosa need urgent investigation.

 Eradicating a pest is very difficult, as evidenced by the recent establishment of ash dieback and sudden larch disease in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Future strategies should focus on prevention of pest incursion and establishment, through horizon scanning and regular surveys. Members of the forest industry and the general public also have an important part to play in preventing new pest epidemics.