Killing trees in areas around diseased trees could wipe out any of nature’s in-built resistance to Chalara fraxinea. It is clear from continental Europe that up to one-third of ash trees exhibit some resistance to ash dieback. Ash is a very genetically diverse tree species, unlike elm (which is why that species was devastated by Dutch elm disease), so we must give nature a change to display this resistance. Mature and resistance ash trees should be allowed to stand.

The disease will spread without much influence from an ash import ban, or even a moratorium on planting ash, which will only, at best, slow its distribution.

It is quite likely that the occurrences in the East of England arose by other means rather than on young plants. It can be spread by water droplets, bird’s feet, forestry and tree machinery, footwear, dog’s feet, car tyres and by wind. Its arrival in Britain was inevitable. Instead of a blanket ban I would like to see a selective control on young trees imported; allowing in only those that have shown some resistance to the disease.

We must build on the excellent work done in continental Europe where there exists over a decade of experience in dealing with the pathogen.

There exists widespread ignorance about tree health and biosecurity among the public, and a lack of knowledge by decision makers concerning the capacity of the public to respond positively to increasing biosecurity measures in the countryside,

The age of the citizen scientist is upon us. Provide the wherewithal for members of the public to take an active part in monitoring tree health across the country

The Forestry Commission has developed an excellent Tree Health Strategy. This now needs to acted upon urgently and funding provided.

It is important to recognise that it is not just the science work itself that is stretched, when delivered by an already small team, but that every new disease or pest demands time.

The team of scientists at Forest Research are an amazing resource but anyone who is lucky enough to deal with them will know that they face an impossible task. They need more funding.

Nothing will stop the spread of ash dieback across Britain, and given its relentless spread from Eastern Europe over the past 20 years, its arrival on our shores was inevitable.

http://gabrielhemery.com/2012/11/03/a-ten-point-plan-for-ash-dieback-chalara-fraxinea-in-britain/

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