The food we eat, the air we breathe, and the buildings we live in, are all provided to us by plants. It is the job of natural resource managers to ensure that the plants in our natural and agricultural landscapes are in good health. Ed Liew is the manager of plant pathology at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and specialises in understanding how threats such as bacteria, viruses and fungi can put our crops, forests and gardens at risk.
In a discussion with James O’Hanlon, Ed takes us through the challenges of correctly identifying plant diseases and managing their damaging effects. The work of a medical plant detective requires attention to fine detail and the confidence to take on projects with serious implications. We’re it not for skilled plant pathologists and ‘mould-fishermen’ like Ed Liew, we are at a real danger of saying goodbye to our banana plantations, garden hedges and national parks.
Find out more about plant pathology at the Royal Botanic Gardens here.