Our trees are under unprecedented threat from both new and established pests and diseases
Observatree is an exciting 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.
- promoting increased surveillance of tree pests and diseases
- encouraging all reporting of tree health concerns via TreeAlert
- 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! 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 Observatree's tree disease campaign page.
Funded by the EU’s Life programme between January 2013 and September 2017, Observatree is a partnership project.
Since October 2017 the project is solely funded through the partner organisations, collaborating with supporting organisations. The project is led by Forest Research and partners are Fera, Forestry Commission England, Scottish Forestry the National Trust, the Woodland Trust, Defra, Welsh Government and APHA. Supporting the project is Natural Resources Wales.