Observatree

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Our trees are under unprecedented threat from both new and established pests and diseases.

Observatree is an exciting four year project, which began in autumn 2013, to set up a new UK tree health early warning system using citizen science.

Harnessing the power of citizen science is critical to the project’s overall success. This is being achieved in two ways.

Firstly, the project aims to encourage tree health professionals and people actively involved with trees to look out for and report any tree pest or disease sightings at the earliest opportunity. In doing this, the chances of eliminating or controlling future outbreaks can be maximised.

Secondly, the project has established a core network of 200 trained Observatree volunteers. Their role is to support Government tree health officers and scientists by undertaking a range of survey work and assisting with the processing and verifying of tree health reports received.

Observatree is:

  • Promoting increased surveillance of tree pests and diseases 
  • Encouraging all reporting of tree health concerns via Tree Alert
  • Providing a UK-wide network of over 200 trained specialist volunteers
  • Sharing information and resources on key tree pests and diseases
  • Researching similar European tree health systems to share best practice

Help us spot tree disease this summer! We want you to look out for three key pests and diseases which are threatening some of the UK’s most iconic tree species:

  • Chalara ash dieback – ash
  • Sirococcus blight of cedar – cedar
  • Oriental chestnut gall wasp – sweet chestnut

To find out more and download free toolkits to help you, visit our tree disease campaign.

Funded by the EU’s Life programme, Observatree is a partnership project. Led by Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission, partners are Fera, the National Trust, and the Woodland Trust. Supporting the project are APHA, Defra and Natural Resources Wales

Visit the Observatree website to find out more or sign up for future updates.

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Trees face huge challenges

With more new pests and diseases reaching our shores tackling pests and diseases is now an urgent priority

Learn about the threats