Rural Economy and Land Use Programme

Growing Risk?

The potential impact of plant disease on land use and the UK rural economy

UK crop production is vulnerable to the introduction of plant diseases that directly affect crop yields, disrupt the food chain and impact on land use and social infrastructure, whilst diseases of non-food plants perturb our natural environment.

Modern farming is heavily influenced by science and technology. Recent sociological conceptions of 'risk society' argue that we are now faced with 'manufactured risks' created by our use of technology and knowledge on the natural world. Until now, a detailed survey of current and future risks posed by crop diseases to land use and the rural economy has not been conducted.

The aim of this Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (RELU) funded project is to develop a critical, inter-disciplinary appraisal of the potential impacts of plant diseases (food and non-food) on land use and the UK rural economy.

This will be achieved through integration of research on plant diseases and the rural economy by creation of a Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Plant Disease and the Rural Economy. The likely occurrence of a catastrophic plant disease outbreak in major UK crops over the next 10-15 years and the macro and micro economic impact of disease epidemics for both crop and non-crop species will be assessed.

See description of research activities and case studies for more details.

For research outputs also see the project's webpage on the RELU Dataportal.