I recently read an article online about ash dieback with was so bad i feel that I have to write about it. The article (Edinburgh University says tree fungus will kill millions of ash trees | STV) is full of sensationalist, attention grabbing statements and very little in the way of information.
I am not trying do dumb down the effect of ash dieback, or the importance of research but this article just shocked me. There is no reference to any research paper, not even a date the research was published making the figures it quotes impossible to verify or if they are up to date. It has been reported elsewhere that our ash trees could have a higher resistance to ash dieback (due to genetic variations within species) and that common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is highly susceptible and other ash species have a lower susceptibility. It has also been reported by the Forestry Commission that Chalara fraxinea does not kill the tree directly but weakens the tree which makes it possible for a secondary pathogen to enter and kill the tree. ( see http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-8ZSS7U see numbers 2, 3, 14 and 15)
It claims/implies that the loss of our ash trees could aggravate climate change. I dont dispute that deforestation contributes to climate change but, compared to the rate we are continuing to hack down the rain-forests and the fact that most ash trees will probably be replaced, loss of some of the UKs ash trees (many of which will be replaced by gardeners and commercial forestry) will surely not be catastrophic to the climate. The article also gives no information about what people can do to mitigate such changes. The article should urge people to plant trees or support projects such as Trees For Life -Restoring the Caledonian Forest.
Dieback in trees can happen for a number of reasons, fungi, pest, environmental conditions, drought, poor soil, to name a few. I presume the article is talking about Chalara fraxinea but it does not give much information.
Where can i find out more?
- Forestry commission (FC)
- FC Tree Alert – Chalara reporting tool
- FC twitter – https://twitter.com/treepestnews
- Woodland trust – pests and diseases
- Telegraph.co.uk – How to spot chalara in your garden
- treesurgeonwolverhampton.org – What you need to know – Chalara Ash dieback