THE LANDSCAPE Institute (LI) has published a new plant health and biosecurity toolkit for landscape consultants to prioritise action against pests and diseases that threaten crops, trees, gardens and landscapes in every part of the plant supply chain.
The new resource, that aims to embed biosecurity best practice in every stage of a construction project, has launched in partnership with the Society of Garden Designers, the British Association of Landscape Industries and the Association of Professional Landscapers.
At a landscape scale, some pests and diseases can be beneficial in terms of habitat creation and the carbon cycle. However, there has been a recent spate of ‘exotic’ pests and diseases being found in areas where there are few natural control measures or predators. These new pests and diseases have economic, social and environmental impacts meaning the role of landscape consultants is as crucial as ever.
From large plants that are imported with larger soil volumes to managing work sites where disease can spread in other ways – including the use of soil and growing mediums, wood, packaging materials, vehicles, machinery and equipment – landscape consultants now have the opportunity to offer a solution to an industry-wide problem.
Landscape architects, garden designers and contractors all specify plants and materials during projects. One important and practical feature of the toolkit is the species selection guide – an A to Z list of the 90 most common genera encountered by landscape professionals that sets out the risks from pests and diseases and the actions to take to mitigate them. The new toolkit breaks down the different risks and makes the information more digestible to a wider audience of practitioners who may know a lot about plants, but not necessarily as much about pests.
Adam White, President of the Landscape Institute said: “As a professional body, we are keen to see better skills and standards developed. This toolkit should align well with the Plant Health Management Standard which focuses on risk throughout the ornamental and amenity plant supply chain.
“It is really important at a time when our climates are changing that designers really think about plants, where they are coming from and how we can protect them from any further disease. It is fantastic to be launching this guide as part of a wider industry partnership. Introducing this toolkit to delegates at our biosecurity CPD day at Kew Gardens on Friday 14 June will be the first step in encouraging members to adapt their thinking about biosecurity at every stage of their work.”
Harry Watkins, Chair of the Landscape Institute biosecurity working group said: “Biosecurity is a major emerging issue for landscape consultants, affecting every stage of the work we undertake – from landscape assessment through to design, specification, contract administration and landscape management.
“The Landscape Institute has coordinated an industry-wide response, preparing the first piece of guidance aimed specifically at those working in landscape assessment, design and management. This toolkit embeds the principles of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and the UK Biological Security Strategy, and will become an essential part of every landscape project.”