Everyone who lives in, works in or visits the Welsh countryside can reduce the risk of spreading pests and diseases by avoiding moving mud, plants or certain parts of plants such as leaves.
What is biosecurity?
Biosecurity refers to a set of precautions that can
prevent the introduction and spread of harmful organisms such as
pests, pathogens or invasive species.
In a forestry context, pests and
diseases refers to invertebrate pests - insects, for example -
that are harmful to trees and to tree diseases caused by pathogens,
such as certain bacteria and fungi.
Biosecurity is also very important in the control of invasive
non-native species such as rhododendron, American skunk
cabbage, Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam.
Why biosecurity is important
The threat to our forests and woodlands has never been
greater. Trees and plants in Britain are now vulnerable to a range
of new pests and diseases. This is a result of the increased
movement of goods around the world. Outbreaks can result in
economic losses for the forestry industry and for related
industries, such as tourism.
It is not always possible to see pests and diseases and
these can be transmitted accidentally, by people moving between
different forests and woodlands. Pests are most often transported
in soil or plant debris carried on footwear or on the wheels of
vehicles and forest machinery. Diseases may also be spread via
equipment used in forestry work.
Advice for visitors and forestry workers
Everyone who lives in, works in or visits the Welsh
countryside can help slow the spread of pests and diseases by
following some basic biosecurity measures.
There are practical steps we can all take to reduce the
risk of moving insects and pathogens like fungal spores, which
spread infestations or infections. In essence, this amounts to
avoiding moving mud, plants or certain parts of plants, like
leaves, which might harbour pests.
For forest visitors, this can be as simple as:
- Brushing dirt off boots or bikes when leaving a forest
- Cleaning boots and bikes thoroughly between visits
- Not taking any plants or foliage home
For more detailed guidance, which will be
particularly useful to woodland workers, please see the following