National Plant Health Week raises awareness of the importance of plants to life

BBSRC, part of UKRI, is partnering with Defra National Plant Health Week, highlighting how healthy plants benefit both the planet and people.

National Plant Health Week begins today, focusing on why plant health matters, the threats plants face, and plant health science.

Plants have many benefits, including boosting a person’s wellbeing. From learning how to look after plants properly, to purchasing plants responsibly and exploring plant research, there are plenty of ways to get involved with National Plant Health Week.

Healthy plants are vital for survival and provide many benefits, not least of which is feeding us: 80% of our food comes from plants. Plants also allow us to breathe, as they produce 98% of our oxygen, while also removing pollution from the air. Plants are key to fighting climate change with a mature tree absorbing up to 150kg of CO2 per year, and they provide habitats for other species, for example, an oak tree can be host to more than 2,300 animals, plants and fungi. Plants and trees also provide material benefits: in the UK their value is estimated to be as high as £9 billion.

Perhaps less quantifiable is the way plants affect our mental health, although it is a generally accepted fact that (backed up by scientific studies) that engaging with nature has a positive effect on our wellbeing. This has been particularly true over the past 15 months or so during Lockdown, when nature and gardens became more important than ever as many people spent their precious time outside, exploring parks and other outdoor spaces.

But it is not just a one-way street. As well as people needing plants to keep us healthy, plants rely on people to keep them healthy.

During the International Year of Plant Health last year UKRI published 10 blogs to raise awareness of the issues surrounding plant health, and these are definitely worth revisiting, especially during National Plant Health Week. You can find out how plant health researchers are boosting food production, how hech is helping plant health and look at how plants may be able to offer solutions to not only the problems caused by climate change, but also to climate change itself.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will be sharing tips on keeping plants healthy, and practice good biosecurity. Take a look at the International Year of Plant Health campaign website for more information.

To get involved with National Plant Health Week, use the hashtags #PlantHealthWeek and #IYPH.

If you have any questions about CHAP, our Membership Scheme, or are interested in working with us on a specific project, then please send us an email using the enquiries form at the bottom of our homepage.