Four years of holistic management of emerging forest pests and diseases: the HOMED final meeting
The HOMED final meeting took place between 12 and 14 September 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal, back to back with the project’s attendance at IUFRO All-Division 7 2022 Conference the week before. Representatives of all partner institutions gathered to mark the end of a four-year research collaboration, including HOMED experts from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, China and South Africa.
HOMED partners presented their results on the key research topics of the management of emerging and invasive pests and pathogens:
- risk of arrival, pre-border biosecurity
- risk of establishment: detection & identification
- risk of spread: eradication
- risk of spread: containment and control
HOMED partners at the project's final meeting in Lisbon, Portugal
One of the key sessions during the final meeting was the stakeholder roundtable, which invited experts from regional authorities (European State Forest Association), international plant protection organisations (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization), forest health institutes (European Institute of Planted Forests), leading gardening charities (the Royal Horticultural Society) and government agencies (European Food Safety Authority) to share their opinions on the implementation of HOMED outcomes. Useful suggestions on presenting results at upcoming panel discussions paved the way towards the exploitation of HOMED results after the project duration.
HOMED has already taken many steps towards successful implementation of results, the biggest one being the development of the project Knowledge Hub, demonstrated at the final project meeting. There, the user can follow the path of emergence or invasion and find out the available tools and information adapted to each phase. The Hub provides the right materials for the needs of policy makers, practitioners, scientists and the general public: online tools with an interactive interface, descriptive sheets of developed prototypes, graphical abstracts popularising scientific results and policy briefs providing key recommendations for decision-makers.
The HOMED final meeting may have been the last one within the framework of the project but it will not be the last gathering of the community of entomologists, pathologists, social scientists and science communicators who successfully collaborated towards a common goal - to maintain the critical ecosystem services provided by EU forests.