2020 was to be THE year for plants. International Year of Plant Health 2020 was announced by the UN General Assembly in 2018 as the year to recognize and protect plant health. Plants produce 98% of the air that we breathe and 80% of the food that we eat. Plant health is a strong theme for the BSPP and an important issue with plant pests and diseases causing up to 40% of yield loss in crops.
International Plant Health week was supposed to be launched on 20th April 2020 to be celebrated every year as a focus for events and outreach, but the COVID19 pandemic forced lockdowns all over the world and eclipsed events planned to celebrate and promote plant health. For the BSPP, all face-to-face events for 2020 were cancelled or postponed. Board meetings have moved online and new plans made for 2021 events.
In the lead up to Plant Health Week, BSPP hosted a Virtual Outreach Workshop that was open to anyone interested in Outreach for Plant Pathology. We hope to build on this fantastic event and share the knowledge received from the presenters and attendees who represented at least 9 different countries and many organisations and institutions.
National Plant Health Week UK launches on Monday 21st September 2020 with a huge range of resources and events including online seminars, videos, blogs and children’s activities.
Following a webinar hosted by the UK Plant Bacterial Disease Programme at 11am BST Monday, the BSPP AGM will be hosted online for the first time at 2pm BST. Then, to switch on our science brains, Professor David Collinge, President Elect of the BSPP, will host a webinar on Biocontrol of plant disease from 3.30pm BST alongside a panel of specialists on biocontrol.
On Thursday 24th September it’s another BSPP Webinar, this time hosted by Professor Gail Preston, Vice President of the BSPP, who will be introducing a team from the Scottish Sensory Centre at the University of Edinburgh who will explain how to use British Sign Language to unlock scientific concepts: ‘Visualising how plants and microbes function in sign language’.
Watch this space and we’ll keep you updated with plant pathology highlights throughout the week.