THE Royal Forestry Society has announced a new collaboration with Observatree, the tree health citizen science project that promotes tree health surveillance and reporting.

Led by Forest Research, Observatree is a multi-partner programme that recently celebrated its 10th year. The project trains and manages its own network of tree health volunteers, but also produces many resources to help deal with tree pests and diseases. 

Christopher Williams, RFS chief executive, said: “Pests and diseases can have a huge impact on our forests. They already affect our current tree stock. They are increasingly impacting on decisions about the trees we are wanting to plant and the way we may plant them. 

“The more people contribute to Observatree, the better the picture we will get about any trends which are emerging. That information will make us collectively better able to protect our forests and woodlands. Forests and woodlands in turn provide so many benefits to local economies, the environment and to the wider society.

 “Through this new collaboration, we aim to work with the Observatree team to raise awareness of tree health issues, share the Observatree resources and encourage reporting by RFS members through TreeAlert.”

Elsewhere, the RFS is one of several forestry organisations to have received the royal patronage from the monarch. King Charles will remain a figurehead for the organisation following a review of royal patronages in the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s death in 2022. Her Majesty had been patron of the RFS for her entire reign.

RFS president Ben Herbert said: “This patronage continues a very special bond.”