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Assessment of large-scale plant biosecurity risks to Scotland

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Home research Assessment of large-scale plant biosecurity risks to Scotland

This research aimed to better understand potential large-scale threats to plant biosecurity in Scotland. Specifically, we explored the risks posed by i) non-specialist and online horticultural sales, ii) planting for landscaping and infrastructure projects, and iii) planting for environmental benefits. In each case we engaged with a selection of key stakeholders to identify the major biosecurity strengths and weaknesses in different sectors and highlighted opportunities for improved future practice.

Descriptions of the three projects can be found on Scotland's Plant Health Centre website. The final reports will be available at the end of May 2021

Research objectives

  • Identify key decision-makers for biosecurity activities and, through dialogue, gauge their level of awareness of pest and pathogen threats, together with their roles, level of responsibility and the scale (local, regional, national and global) of their operation.
  • Identify from these key decision-makers the primary factors that influence decision-making relevant for biosecurity (including procurement and other business decisions) and the degree to which biosecurity is already considered or could feature more strongly in future.
  • Summarise the major strengths and weaknesses of current biosecurity practices.
  • Assess the barriers to more stringent biosecurity.
  • Summarise opportunities for enhancing biosecurity including roles for awareness raising, incentives and regulation.

Findings and Recommendations

The below links will take you to our pages outlining research findings for each of the three topics

A policy summary can be found on the Scottish Plant Health Centre's website, and the reports for each project are listed below. 



Our Involvement

Forest Research led the research with support from Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews Botanic Garden, James Hutton Institute, Fera, the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Scotland’s Rural College.



PDF, 1.99 MB

B. Karlsdóttir, C. Pollard, A. Paterson, H. Watkins, M. Marzano (2021). Assessment of plant biosecurity risks to Scotland from large scale plantings for landscaping and infrastructure projects: Project Final Report. PHC


PDF, 0.97 MB

Pollard, C.R.J., Marzano, M., Paterson, A. (2021). Assessment of large-scale plant biosecurity risks to Scotland from non-specialist and online horticultural sales: Project Final Report. PHC


PDF, 1.88 MB

Dunn, M., Finger, A., Marzano, M. (2021). Assessment Of Plant Biosecurity Risks To Scotland From Large-Scale Tree Plantings For Environmental Benefits: Project Final Report. PHC

Research Status
Principal Social Scientist
Forestry Staff MarzanoMariella.2e16d0ba.fill 600x600 1
Funding & partners
  • The research is funded by the Scottish Plant Health Centre, which is in turn funded by Scottish Government through RESAS (Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division) to help tackle plant health challenges for Scotland.

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