A seven-acre section of woodland near Bickleigh belonging to farmer John Greenslade has been decimated by the disease, and a major programme to uproot and destroy affected trees is under way.

Mr Greenslade began planting Byway Woods 20 years ago and has won awards for it.

AROUND 60 per cent of the UK’s ash woodlands infected by a fungus could be wiped out within a decade, a study by the University of Edinburgh shows.

Scientists estimated that 90 per cent of Britain’s 126 million ash trees will become infected, causing ash dieback.

Dr Dave Reay of the university’s school of geosciences, who conducted the research, said the loss of a large volume of trees by the wind-blown fungus, Chalara, could also aggravate the effects of climate change.

http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/environment/fungus-could-kill-60-of-infected-ash-woodlands-by-2023-1-2905550

The implications for lichens of the spread of Chalara Dieback of Ash, a disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea, could be very serious.

The light dappled shade beneath its canopy is ideal for many of the lichens that grow on tree bark and wood. Like elm, the bark of ash has a relatively high pH, a requirement for many lichens.

http://www.britishlichensociety.org.uk/about-lichens/habitats-conservation/ash-chalara-dieback-and-lichens

Ancient woodlands covering an area larger than 12,700 football pitches are threatened with destruction to make way for new building developments and the controversial high-speed rail link.

Analysis by the Woodland Trust has revealed that at least 350 woods, which have all been a feature of the landscape for more than 400 years, could be lost or permanently damaged under plans to build housing, roads, quarries and the £33 billion rail route.

The scale of the threat, which the group says is the greatest in the 15 years since ­it began recording ancient woodlands at risk,

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/9919768/Our-ancient-woodlands-that-could-be-lost-to-the-bulldozer.html

Ash germinates and grows as readily and quickly as any common or garden weed. But evidently it made business sense to take native ash seeds or seedlings overseas to be raised in commercial nurseries and to be brought back into the country as saplings.And it turns out we in the Woodland Trust were collaborating in this return of the native trees without realising it. With hindsight it is obvious we should have checked to see where every one of the thousands of trees we plant every year was coming from

Forty years ago the woodlands were recovering from the effects of Dutch elm disease, which brought down almost every English elm tree. Ash trees, 90% of which have been destroyed in Denmark, are doing only a little better. But if 10% are immune to this fungus, resistant strains can survive and in due course replace the many others that die.

Great stands of ash trees will be lost today, but they can grow back tomorrow. Anyone who plants trees knows they are really creating something for the future, not the present. Working to save ancient forests from destruction, whether from an invasive fungus or insensitive planning, is very much part of the Woodland Trust’s activities, but so too is planting for generations to come.

I only have an honorary position with the Woodland Trust, and I won’t call for my own resignation. In fact, in this time of crisis for our woods everyone connected with the trust or who has any interest in woods and woodlands should redouble their efforts on behalf of our trees. In the long run, our trees will long outlive us – touch wood.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/25/ash-dieback-clive-anderson-woodland-trust

We will rightly mourn the demise of ash trees from our woods, copses and country lanes if most of them succumb to deadly Chalara fungus. But the dead wood they will provide will be an enormous boost for Britain’s biodiversity. Dead wood is the richest habitat in a healthy forest. It supports a huge variety of wood-boring invertebrates, plus a battalion of fungi whose thread-like filaments penetrate deep inside to slowly decompose it, returning its nutrients to the forest soil.

A forest with plenty of dead timber provides a cornucopia of invertebrates for birds such as nuthatches, warblers and woodpeckers to feast on. And large dead trees, because rot holes more easily develop in them, are good places for hole-breeding species like bats, jackdaws and tawny owls.

If swathes of ash trees start dying Britain-wide, the policy of fell and burn to stop the spread of the fungus will serve no further purpose. Dead trees mustn’t be squandered.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/mourn-the-passing-of-the-ash-tree-but-for-conservationists-there-is-a-silver-lining-8329356.html

And this is why ash dieback breaks my heart: a sense that while they may be of little import to most of us on the surface, what we lose when they die runs deeper than we know. Many people – most, perhaps – couldn’t identify an ash; and I’ve heard some comment blithely that surely other trees will just grow, it won’t matter, not in the long term.
It matters. Along with their unique physical presence in our landscape, along with the ecological benefits they bring as a major native species, there is a pool of myth and folklore and wisdom and learning and allusion at stake; a deep collective history which is our birthright and which, more than ever right now, can sustain us. Will the next generation even be able to call ash trees to mind – the shape their branches make in winter, the sticky black buds in spring, the sound their leaves make in a warm breeze, the feel of ash keys in the palm – as my parents could the elm?

http://mel-talesofthecity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/ashes-to-ashes.html

CAROL PEARCE, OWNER OF “CAROL’S ARCHERY”: “It will put several people out of work and will affect me, especially if we can’t go into woodland. Because most of my arrows are used for field archery which is of course woodland archery. If that stops, that will be the end of the business.”

Reuters Video: The fungal threat to Brit businesses

Deep in the forests of Poland, the tall trees suddenly vanish. A vast clearing opens up, a boggy landscape studded with the remains of dead ash trees. Half have been chopped to the stump, half are jagged like rotten teeth. The mystery fungus killed the leaves first, then moved into the stalk and down the trunk, cutting off the water supply and choking the tree. Then it rotted the roots.

By 2003, the fungus had moved into the older trees, some of which had been planted in the time of Stalin. Still the full horror of what was happening here was not revealed until one night in February 2007, when strong winds blew.

Prof Kowalski does not rule out the possibility that it was created by natural genetic mutation in the forests of Poland. However, a second theory is gaining more support in the scientific community.

“There are suggestions that Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus comes from Asia, where it lived on a different species of ash tree and caused no damage,” he says. “Then it came here, perhaps carried by the wind or by birds, or on clothes, and found the European ash more vulnerable.” Until the latest research is confirmed, he is not willing to say for sure. He does, though, think the row over imports in Britain is irrelevant now, or at least too late.

[He said] “Cooler temperatures in summer are better for some strains of the disease, so it is possible that the colder, wetter summer in Britain this year could have contributed to what is happening there. In most instances in Poland, we are finding that 15 to 20 per cent of trees do not die, and show no symptoms.”

“How many trees are at risk?” Eighty million. “Wow.” He looks shocked. “Has it been seen in the older trees?” It has. This experienced man of the forests puts his hand on his heart. “Then I am afraid it is over for you. It is too late. The game is over.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/poland/9669165/Ash-dieback-the-ruined-Polish-forest-where-deadly-fungus-began.html

Yggdrasil, the World-Tree

According to the 13th century Icelandic Edda

“The ash Yggdrasill endures anguish,

more than men know.

A hart gnaws it on high, it rots at the side,

While Niohoggr devours it below.”

Let us hope that the predictions of Norse mythology of the end of the world with the death of the world-tree do not come true.

http://dianajhale.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/death-of-the-ash-tree-yggdrasil-defeated/