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Report: Woodlands under threat from disease

by Robert Murphy

England may be known as a green and pleasant land - but our woodland has been under threat in recent years from bugs and diseases which have been killing our trees. And according to people at a forestry conference held in the region, there could be more bad news to come.

More than 100,000 ash trees were destroyed last year in an attempt to stop the spread of Ash dieback. But now larch, pine and even oak trees may be affected by different problems.

West Country (E)

Dorset Wildlife Trust's reaction to ash dieback

This is a sad day for ash woodlands in Dorset and across the UK.

Further loss of these beautiful trees will undoubtedly affect the species which depend on them to survive.

Therefore, we are asking members of the public to be vigilant, and report any sightings of affected ash trees to the Forestry Commission immediately.”

– Abby Gibbs, Trees and Woodland Officer, Dorset Wildlife Trust

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West Country (E)

Ash dieback: the facts

  • Chalara dieback of ash is a serious disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea
  • It has caused widespread damage to ash populations in continental Europe, including estimated losses of between 60 and 90 per cent of Denmark’s ash trees
  • Chalara dieback of ash is particularly destructive of young ash plants, killing them within one growing season of symptoms becoming visible
  • Local spread, up to some tens of miles, may be by wind
  • Over longer distances the risk of disease spread is most likely to be through the movement of diseased ash plants

You can read more information about the spread of ash dieback disease here.

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More than 15 cases of Ash Dieback in the West Country

Woodland owners are being urged not to panic this evening as a disease that has badly affected Ash trees across Europe, has now spread to the West Country.

There have been more than 15 cases of Ash Dieback identified here, but this is the first time an infected tree from a nursery has passed it on to an existing ash tree.

Efforts are now being made to try to stop the infection spreading further.

Seth Conway reports:

Infected trees to be felled in Devon

Leaves wilting in the wrong season is a sign of Ash dieback infection according to the Forestry Commission. Credit: ITV News West Country

There have been more than 15 cases of Ash dieback in the region in recent years.

But this outbreak at Bickleigh near Tiverton is the first time the disease has spread from an infected tree to previously healthy indigenous trees.

Ash dieback confirmed in West Cornwall

Ash dieback found in Cornwall Credit: ITV Westcountry

The foresty commission has confirmed there are now five suspected infected areas where ash dieback is present in the South west.

One of the latest outbreaks is in the West of Cornwall near Camborne. They are all at recently planted sites and the young trees, that may have come from the same nursery, will be destroyed.

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