The majority of forest volume in the UK is not publicly owned – out of a total forest area of 3 million hectares in the UK, only 28% is managed by the Forestry Commission. For ash, this figure is much lower, with only 3% of ash woodlands not owned by the private sector.

For private owners, the costs of surveying, felling, and replacing ash trees are likely to be high, and the effects of this could be long-lasting. An increase in the amount of timber in the market could also drive prices down, affecting landowners even further.

For landowners to engage in monitoring ash dieback, resources must also be available for them to do so. The number of inquiries sent to the Forestry Commission’s Tree Health Diagnostic and Advisory Service has increased by 1000% over the past six months. As diseased trees come into leaf over spring, and more trees become infected when the Chalara fungus sporulates again in summer, this high workload could even increase.

The number of tree diseases present in the UK has risen exponentially over the past 20 years, and now, almost all tree species are under threat from at least one disease or pest. Red band needle blight and ash dieback threaten up to 18% of woodland in the UK.

The report compiled by Confor highlights that the extent of private ownership of ash woodlands needs to be taken in to account.

http://britishecologicalsociety.org/blog/blog/2013/03/15/assessing-the-impacts-of-ash-dieback/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcologicalAndPolicyBlog+%28BES+Ecology+%26+Policy+Blog%29

In a normal year, the service receives a combined total of 750 enquires. But in autumn 2012, the UK saw multiple cases of chalara, a serious disease of ash trees which is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea.

Since then, THDAS has received over 4000 enquiries from England and Wales alone (as well as approximately 200 from Scotland), a workload ten times higher than normal.

That massively increased workload comes as the service struggles with budget cuts introduced in the years leading up to the 2010 election.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/02/biosecurity-agency-cut-labour-experiences-1000-cent-increase-workload

  • All consignments of plane trees, sweet chestnut, oak and ash are now being checked by plant health inspectors in a bid to stop disease
  • imports must be accompanied by paperwork indicating the species of trees in transit, their origin and destination
  • The clampdown come as ash dieback continues to spread

Nurseries infected with the deadly fungus set to wipe out Britain’s 80m ash trees have been removed from the official map of the outbreak the Guardian can reveal, after nursery owners complained that being identified might hurt their business.

Officials said permitting anonymity encourages nursery owners to come forward and report infections, but critics say concealing the identity of infected nurseries means the public and scientists trying to fight the epidemic do not have the full facts.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/23/ash-dieback-infected-nurseries-map

Two trade bodies, the Horticultural Trades Association and the Confederation of Forest Industries, warned the Commission of the potential threat of fungal disease in 2009.

But despite this 70,400 trees were brought in from abroad and now ash dieback- or chalara fraxinea – is now threatening to wipe out 80 million trees in Britain.

The infected Forestry Commission sites include Thetford Forest, in Norfolk, one of the biggest lowland forests in England with more than 19,000 hectares of woodland.

Also affected are Rendlesham Wood, a 1,500 hectare forest in Suffolk; Theberton Wood, a 25 hectare patch of woodland in Suffolk; Eggringe Wood, which forms part of a stretch of woodland on the Kent Downs covering 1,598 hectares; and the 400 hectare Elham Park Wood in east Kent.

The Forestry Commission also had to destroy 50,000 saplings at Dalbeatie Forest in Dumfries and Galloway after they were found to be infected.

It is understood the 70,000 imported ash trees represented 4.2 per cent of the total planted.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9769588/Forestry-Commission-planted-70000-imported-ash-trees-despite-warnings.html

This is the first confirmed case on a Wildlife Trust nature reserve in Cambridgeshire, and also a first for the county’s ancient woodlands. The reserve remains open to visitors but, for biosecurity reasons, the public are reminded that if they do visit Gamlingay Wood to check their footwear on leaving and remove any organic matter.

http://www.wildlifebcn.org/news/2012/12/12/ash-dieback-arrives-cambridgeshire-ancient-woodland

 

The former presenter of Gardener’s World said the horticultural trade warned of ash dieback in 2009, but nothing was done to stop imports of the species.

He said ministers’ advice to wash boots, dogs and children after visiting a woodland would have “minimal effect” when the disease is already widespread. “I think expecting people to wash their dogs, boots children after a woodland walk is like sticking a plaster on a broken leg.

“This is fungal-led and wind-borne. It is here now. It is a matter of watching and waiting. We need to cull where possible when we find it, monitor and look out for resistant strains. We also need more stringent rules on imports.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2012/dec/08/alan-titchmarsh-complete-muppet-tory