Plant Health: Protecting Plants to Safeguard Our Future


Plant health is an overarching term for emerging risks including pests, diseases and weeds, integrated pest management and innovation in plant protection.

It has the potential to contribute to the wider goal of ensuring the sustainability of primary production on an economic, ecological and social level. This CORDIS Results Pack showcases some of the cutting-edge projects at the forefront of research and innovation activities addressing plant health.

Plants are the source of air we breathe and over 80 % of the food we consume. They play a critical role in achieving sustainable and competitive agriculture and forestry sectors and the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems. Therefore, keeping plants healthy is not only important – it is absolutely vital.

The achievement of healthy plants, however, is challenging for several reasons. For one, the trade and the movement of goods and people are facilitating the introduction, spread and establishment of plant pests and diseases. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that up to 40 % of food crops are lost due to plant pests and diseases annually. This impacts the food supply of millions of people and damages agriculture. Furthermore, climate change and intensification in agricultural and forest management practices can lead to the emergence of new pests and diseases, and existing ones are likely to become more severe. Adding to these challenges, people have turned to pesticides to secure yields in plant production. In doing so, there are mounting concerns over the effects of plant protection products on the environment, non-target organisms and human health. 

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