A hub for crowdsourcing information and genomic resources for Ash Dieback.

On this website you’ll be able to get data to do your own analyses on ash and ash dieback.
You can see the results of other peoples work as soon as it is available and share your own discoveries in the same way.

You will always get full credit for your work and in doing so contribute to a real community effort.

http://oadb.tsl.ac.uk/

The crisis in Britain’s ash forests came as a shock to public and politicians. But is it a vision of the future for our woodlands? Stressed by climate change and vulnerable to pests and diseases crossing the English Channel the prospects seem grim.

In a special edition of Costing the Earth Tom Heap asks what our forests will look like in the future. Is there anything we can do to stem the flow of disease, can our native trees be made more resilient or should we consider planting a wider range of trees? Tom visits Lithuania where ash dieback disease first came to attention in Europe to find out how they’ve come to terms with new threats to their forests and meets the experts and enthusiasts with a fresh approach to protecting our forests.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01p9dcp

Oliver Rackham was recently bemoaning the UK’s approach to woodland expansion being so dominated by tree planting, rather than natural regeneration. Not only are the resulting plantations artificial, but the whole process has encouraged the seedling trade across borders that is being blamed for ash dieback disease’s introduction to Britain.

One of the main reasons new woods are planted rather than regrown naturally is because we have such unnaturally high levels of herbivores. Young trees can only get away if they’re grown behind fences to protect them from teeth and the high costs of fencing and our current system of forestry grants has led to an urgency to get trees established in order to be able to claim grants quickly and recoup the outlay on fences.

So, is it time to think about returning some of our native carnivores, to keep the bunnies and deer under control, and reassert a bit of natural balance in our shattered and fragile ecosystems?

http://cybercrofter.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/is-it-time-to-bring-back-bears.html

The disease has swept Europe and should never have been allowed to arrive here on imported trees. Along with the government, nurseries, land managers and other organisations, we must hold up our hands. We should have investigated our supply chain more thoroughly, uncovered this threat and worked hard to challenge it. We are determined to ensure this will never happen again.

http://treedisease.co.uk/what-we-are-doing/

 

we welcome government action to determine the extent of ash dieback disease and to contain its spread.

We believe this disaster for nature and our landscapes should be a wake-up call for the Government to show a much stronger commitment to tackling tree diseases in general.

We urge the Government to consider drawing on the Contingencies Fund to tackle these threats rather than raiding other already depleted Defra budgets for nature conservation and access.

http://cpreviewpoint.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/tree-diseases-cpre-letter-in-the-times/

I find I am, to some extent, on a similar wavelength to Andy Byfield in his Guardian piece on tree planting.

But, I do remain a little more optimistic about the role that planting new native trees and woods can play. Tree planting is usually a very visible activity and one which can be used as a way of engaging and enthusing people about the natural environment, whilst the wider work of protecting our valuable ancient woods and the major programmes of restoring ancient woods that were damaged by conifer planting in recent times continues too, day in and day out.

I for one would be more than happy to see a strong welcome for the Panel’s recommendations on a major increase in woodland expansion being set clearly in the context of the Natural Environment White Paper.

http://wtcampaigns.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/re-thinking-tree-planting/

For decades and centuries – but particularly since the first world war and the formation of the Forestry Commission – ash woodland and individuals have been erased from the landscape, largely by modern forestry and agriculture, taking with them the associated culture and history, flora and fauna and much more. The loss of this welter of evidence is what our great woodland landscape historian, Dr Oliver Rackham, refers to when he talks of loss of meaning from the countryside. Such evidence often usually lost for good.

Of the diseased sites recently reported, 87 stands – nearly half the total – are either nursery sites or new plantings, so this time around, it seems that the finger of blame can be pointed more at conservationists and the horticultural trade than the forester.

I suspect that the blame lies firmly on the shoulders of conservation organisations and hobby foresters, planting new woods for amenity and environmental purposes. More often than not, trees are imported from the continent in generic broadleaved mixes, and planted as random, ill-thought-out patches across the countryside. Such plantings take no account of local landscape, or the natural composition of woodland in their locale, or indeed the likelihood of future colonisation by wild plants and animals. Such plantings are, in the words of one conservation chum, “mindless”, and merely results in “more dull woodland” (the words of another).

Such creation should aim to link and expand existing ancient semi-natural woodland blocks to maximise colonisation by wildlife and to facilitate sustainable management (bringing life-giving light into woodland that is so important to a wide diversity of woodland flowers, butterflies and much else). And above all, wherever possible, the jays and squirrels, and gravity and wind should be allowed to do the planting through natural regeneration. New woodlands would have so much more meaning than the lowest common denominator rubbish being planted at the present time.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2012/nov/23/ash-dieback-tree-planting

[S]cientists are now saying it has been in the country for more than a decade.

Clive Brasier, a former Government adviser on forestry, said the fact that 121 of the infected sites are mature trees in the wider environment, rather than in nurseries or recent plantings, suggest that the disease has been spreading for years.

The disease will only spread the year after the tree has been infected. Prof Brasier, who continues to advise the Forestry Commission in his role as emeritus Mycologist at Forest Research, said foresters will have assumed trees showing signs of infection were suffering from other diseases or frost damage.

“It will not have been spotted because people would have thought it is wind, frost damage, other diseases or even squirrels.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9699330/Ash-dieback-mistaken-for-squirrel-damage.html

 

Mr Paterson called for a crackdown on imports, especially where native seeds are being sent abroad and then returned fully-grown.

“I’m not sure if we can treat plant and tree products as a free tradable commodity anymore. We had this crazy trade of sending seedlings to Holland and then bring them back and planting them here,” he told the Daily Politics.

“So I am prepared to have a very radical look at how we handle our forestry and our tree environment and how we handle the trade in those materials, which have up till now been completely free.”

Tim Briercliffe, Business Development Manager at the Horticultural Trades Association, said other species like oak, birch and chestnut are ‘grown on’ abroad.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9691461/Stop-crazy-import-of-native-trees-into-UK-orders-Paterson.html

1. There is always a tremendous hurry and lack of adequate cash about grant aided planting which means trees are often imported

2. Inappropriate tree species are routinely introduced.

3. The groups of trees which are planted do not constitute woods. In particular, no-one bothers to establish an understory, which means they have less value for biodiversity than they should do. Demand for woodland bulbs is amazingly small and their purchase is never covered by woodland planting grants, for example.

4. This issue is compounded by planting densities being too high, which blocks out any light reaching the plants on the ground.

5. We sometimes establish these plantations, with limited ecological value, where more interesting habitat previously existed.

http://blog.habitataid.co.uk/when-tree-planting-sucks/