See no weevil, hear no weevil

A high-tech device developed in Scotland which can remotely assess populations of a major tree pest could have global implications for forest management, the environment and climate emergency mitigation.

Every year, the pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) kills millions of newly planted trees across Europe, causing an estimated £5m in direct losses in the UK alone .

But the development of a remote monitoring system designed by engineering company, Spotta, is set to offer a solution.

And the system, which was developed with the help of £500,000 of Scottish Government support, is expected to not only save trees and resources but also significantly reduce pesticide spraying and increase carbon sequestration.

It was claimed that the solution is applicable anywhere that the weevils, capable of destroying 100 per cent of saplings in a newly planted area, were present and that it could also be adapted to target other pests in the agriculture and forestry industries globally.

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Scotland’s environment minister, Mairi McAllan, said that forestry and woodland creation were key to climate emergency mitigation and to Scotland achieving net zero.

“Tree pests are a serious threat to the economic, social and environmental benefits that forestry provides and finding solutions that help manage them effectively is a huge benefit – not just here in Scotland but potentially much further afield,” she said.

“This innovative solution is a tremendous benefit for the forestry sector and the environment.”

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