To the Norse, it was the tree of life. Vikings called themselves, Aeslings, men of ash, believing that the first man was made from an ash tree. The universe, they believed, spins on an ash tree axis, Ygddrasil, the world tree, which has earth in its roots, and heaven in its canopy. Legend says that when the ash trees die, so will we. Little wonder therefore that when the ash dieback disease struck in Denmark, it caused deep fear about how much we have destabilised our life support systems on earth.

walkingwithpoets.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/ash-the-tree-of-life/

a YouGov poll conducted for the Woodland Trust suggests.

Only 17 per cent recognised an ash leaf, despite the high profile of Chalara ash dieback, which experts have warned could be as devastating as Dutch elm disease. And 57 per cent could not identify an oak. Fewer than two-fifths (39 per cent) of young people could identify an oak and only one in 10 identified an ash. Older people did better: more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of over-55s identified an oak and almost a quarter (23 per cent) recognised an ash.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/save-the-ash-tree-half-of-us-cant-even-recognise-an-oak-8704037.html

 

Landowners have accused the Government of ignoring scientists’ efforts to develop a cure for ash dieback and instead relying on cheaper ‘management’ of the disease.

Sir Richard Storey, who owns 300 acres of mature ash trees on his Settrington Estate in Yorkshire, pointed out that Britain has far more ash trees than Continental Europe as it is more difficult to grow other species like beech and oak in the UK because of grey squirrels.

Harriet Tupper, Chairwoman of the International Dendrology Society, accused the Government agency in charge of tackling the disease, the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) of rejecting projects working on cures and antidotes.

“It is pessimistic not to try to find a cure/antidote. Over the centuries, scientists have discovered cures for many diseases, of humans, animals and plants. There is no reason why this cannot also happen for Chalara fraxinea. No antidote was found in Poland or Denmark, but of the trees in those countries, ash represented only a tiny fraction unlike the situation in the UK.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9948411/Government-ash-dieback-management-plan-criticised-for-failing-to-stop-disease.html

A group including the Confederation of Forest Industries, the Woodland Trust and the Ramblers Association urged ministers not to scrap the Forestry Commission, which manages publicly owned forests in England and Scotland.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today, the group warned against any plans to merge “the Forestry Commission with Natural England or the Environment Agency”.

They said: “A merger would distract front-line staff at a time of threat from tree pests and diseases, and it would threaten, over time, the professional expertise built up in the Forestry Commission.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/9967598/Scrapping-forestry-quango-leaves-trees-at-greater-risk-of-ash-dieback-type-diseases.html

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

Should we start planting Ash with natural Chalara resistance even if they aren’t of UK provenance, e.g. Danish ‘Tree 35′?

AD: We should be very clear that tree 35 is not ‘resistant’. It tolerates the fungus better than most but it still gets infected. We do not know what is likely to happen with such trees over 20-40 years. The plan it to see if there are different genetic determinants in different trees that tolerate the fungus. If there are, it may be possible to cross them with each other and combine the characters to increase tolerance.

DM: It isn’t certain whether ‘Tree 35′ is going to be tolerant against the UK population of ash dieback. Tree 35 has shown to have great tolerance, but it isn’t clear how it will be in 20 – 30 years and we want to be able to create long term resistance. That said, there are great lessons to be learned from the genetic makeup of this tree and understanding how it has reached this tolerance is going to be of great benefit. In the end we would like to achieve a UK population of resistant trees, with UK-specific diversity, as our tree population is genetically different from the Danish population.

JW: Before we can go ahead with widespread planting of ash trees such as Tree 35, we have to be sure about the extent of its resistance.  However, just because trees/seeds are not of UK provenance doesn’t mean we should exclude them.  The releases from a number of programmes breeding for resistance to Dutch elm disease have made use of a wide range of elm species from Asia to produce resistant elms.  Also, many of the broadleaf trees planted in Britain, including oaks raised after the Napoleonic wars, have depended on seed from other European countries.

http://oadb.tsl.ac.uk/?p=371

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

Forestry officials have confirmed the Chalara fraxinea fungus, which causes ash trees to gradually wither and die, has been found at three new sites in young trees in Wales.

The cases are the first to be identified since the start of the winter, as the symptoms of the disease, which threatens to devastate Britain’s 80 million ash trees, become hard to spot in trees once they lose their leaves.

The number of cases to be found in Britain stands at 386 since it was first discovered last February, with 170 of these in mature established woodland.

All the trees at the three sites, which had been supplied by a nursery previously found to be infected with the fungus, were destroyed. Testing has suggested around 10 per cent of ash tree sites are infected.

Scientists have also found that infected trees were being imported into Britain from elsewhere in Europe as early as 2008 – far earlier than believed previously.

“In the case of Chalara, it’s very important to make sure you don’t inadvertently move ash leaves, living or dead, around the countryside.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/9904591/Ash-dieback-found-in-three-new-sites-in-first-infections-of-the-year.html

 

Acute oak decline, which is thought to have first emerged less than 30 years ago, affects trees that are more than 50 years old. Half of oaks in some English woods are already infected.

Peter Goodwin, the co-founder of Surrey-based charity Woodland Heritage, warned that the disease was “far more serious” than ash dieback, which has captured headlines over fears that it will spread to most of the UK’s 92 million ash trees.

“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are absolutely culpable in under-funding this problem, so my charity Woodland Heritage began raising money and has done some incredible things to bolster that team of scientists, and we are getting results now,” he told the East Anglian Daily Times.

Acute oak decline is likely to have a complex cause involving both a particular kind of beetle and various species of bacteria that have been found together in affected trees.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/countryside/9762106/Government-failed-to-fund-research-into-deadly-oak-disease.html