British Woodlands Under Attack From Deadly Diseases

Walkers in the woodlands of England will have noticed there are an increasing number of trees suffering from some form of disease or stress. This is not only related to the adverse weather conditions we have been suffering from for a few years - either very wet conditions or very dry conditions - but is related to the increase prevalence of Ash Die back disease and now more recently the “Acute Oak Decline” disease.

A recent survey of woodlands at Warndon Wood in Worcestershire, found that 15% of the oak trees in an area on the outskirts of the city were already shown to be suffering from this disease. Farmers and landowners should be aware of the increased prevalence of this disease and report its occurrence to the Forestry Commission local office, along with the Tree Protection Officer of their local Council. It is important that reporting is carried out so the authorities can monitor the progress of these diseases and provide the necessary information for research into treatment and prevention.

It is disappointing that the National Government did not listen to the national tree nursery business operators who warned that the import of ash trees and cut timber could cause such an outbreak. Currently the only method of prevention is to fell and burn the timber involved.This is obviously a tragic loss to our natural environment.