Plant Health Conference

Plant collections and their importance in enabling ground breaking collaborative research

Tree health is increasing in its importance with growing numbers of pests and pathogens having a significant impact on the UK’s trees and forests. Ash Dieback, Dutch Elm Disease and Acute Oak Decline have all made it into public consciousness.  Tree health has implications for:

  • the forestry and wood supply industries
  • plants and animals in forest and woodland ecosystems
  • human health

The Living Ash Project, a DEFRA funded collaborative project based in Paradise Wood, sought to identify and secure ash trees that showed tolerance to Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, and use them for a future breeding programme.

Paradise Wood, based at Earth Trust,  is a national research woodland, containing the largest genetic collection of hardwood forestry trees and trials in Britain. It is a living gene bank of the UK’s most commercially useful hardwood trees, built up over 20 years using research principles.  Trees were planted from 1993 onwards through successful partnerships with the EU, DEFRA and a range of other local and national partners. The Earth Trust is also home to Little Wittenham Wood with SSSI and SAC designated status, and other tree collections and farm woodlands.

This conference will present the results of the Living Ash Project and report on exciting new research approaches using genomic selection for identifying characteristics such as disease tolerance, faster growth or superior timber quality.  These research collaborations have relied upon access to collections of trees; and the need for collections such as Paradise Wood will be highlighted.

Guest speakers include:
  • Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Defra Minister
  • Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission
  • Dr. Jo Clark, Earth Trust
  • Prof. Richard Buggs, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
  • Lisa Smith, DEFRA
  • Prof. Stephen Harris, University of Oxford
  • Clare Trivedi, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew

Download the full programme (Pdf. 217KB).

Please note that online booking is required. Book now to secure to your place!

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