November 19, 2017

Plant disease ravaging olive groves in Spain could threaten oak trees if it reaches Britain, Michael Gove warns


Britain’s oak trees are under threat from a disease which is ravaging olive groves in Europe, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has warned. The horticulture sector is being urged to take action to prevent Xylella fastidiosa from spreading to the UK. The disease, which can result in stunted growth, reduction in fruit quality and dieback, is having a devastating impact on plants in parts of mainland Europe where it is already present. Mr Gove wants the European Commission to take stronger action to halt the march of the disease, including more checks on high-risk plants as they are moved between countries….

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Re-appointment of Forestry Commissioner Mary Barkham

Mary Barkham

Her Majesty the Queen, acting on the advice of Ministers, has re-appointed Dr Mary Barkham as a Forestry Commissioner for England. Mary will serve a second term of up to three years commencing 1 November 2017 and will also serve on the Forestry Commission’s National Committee for England. Mary is an independent consultant specialising in environmental research strategy, coordination and delivery. She is also a Trustee for the Earth Trust, an environmental learning charity based in Oxfordshire. She has fourteen years’ leadership experience in the UK’s Research Councils, mainly the Natural Environment Research Council. She has also worked with the…

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Arts Council England grant awarded for exciting forest theatre experiences


The Arts Council has awarded £139,000 to the Forestry Commission and theatre partner Burn the Curtain to develop their outdoor theatre experiences. The substantial grant will enable Burn the Curtain to tour their sell-out evening theatre show, The Company of Wolves, based on the stories by Angela Carter, to three more forest locations this autumn. In addition, a new theatre show will be developed around the nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll, ‘The Hunting of the Snark’. The experience will tour across seven forests in 2018 and will be accompanied by ‘Snark Hunter’, an innovative app which will bring the poem…

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Innovative Torbay ‘Tree Trail’ to launch across the bay

A new Torbay initiative that links personal health with the benefits of trees is bringing three brand new tree trails to Torbay. The project, which is thought to be one of the first of its kind in England, involved a number of partner organisations working together to develop the idea and will see a series of tree focused walks being promoted via a phone app, across Brixham, Torquay and Paignton. Torbay Council, the NHS clinical commissioning group, Hi-Line and social enterprise, Treeconomics, have worked on the plan, which is hoped will encourage more Torbay residents to get out in the…

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Chance to have your say on national survey about woodlands and forestry


Devolution, pests & pathogens, Brexit, emerging markets, climate change, societal attitudes . . . these are just some of the momentous factors influencing our trees and woodlands, those who care for them, and those who rely on their products and services. Have your say about what these and other issues mean to you by taking part in Britain’s only dedicated national survey about our woodlands and forestry: the British Woodlands Survey 2017. The last BWS, which focussed on environmental change, represented 11% of all privately-owned forest land in Britain with 1500 stakeholders taking part in the survey. This year we…

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Prince Charles gives his support to Arboricultural Association’s Amenity Conference – Biosecurity: Protect and Survive


In a video presentation aired at 9.30am on Monday 11 September, His Royal Highness Prince Charles delivered a message of support for the Arboricultural Association initiative in hosting the first international conference on arboricultural biosecurity. The message outlined the biosecurity threats we all face and the grave potential outcomes should we fail to act; the Prince’s understanding of the subject and his personal concern are clearly demonstrated in the video. Shortly after being aired at conference the video was made available to all via the Arboricultural Association’s website as it will also be of significant interest to those beyond the…

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Call for landowners in north Leeds to plant more trees


A north Leeds councillor has appealed to landowners to plant more trees in a bid to boost woodland in the area. Coun. Matthew Robinson (Con, Harewood) has written to farmers, landowners and golf clubs across the ward to ask if they have land for planting. It follows a successful appeal last year where a number of farmers, including Mike Johnson (pictured) of Holly Well Farm in Collingham. Leeds City Council is part of the White Rose Forest Partnership which supports those looking to plant trees in the region. Coun Robinson told the YEP: “Trees are a vital part of our…

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Sapling saved from Passchendaele vies to be tree of the year


A100-year-old Scottish spruce that started life as a tiny sapling in the muddy carnage of Passchendaele is in contention to be named Europe’s finest tree. In 1917, Lieutenant David McCabe, of the 5th Battalion Canadian Light Infantry, rescued a handful of saplings on the battlefield and sent them home to his native Crieff in Perthshire in an ammunition box. The 32-year-old died later that year from wounds sustained in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, but the life he preserved amid the slaughter successfully took root in Scottish soil. The spruce has now been shortlisted among the finest and most historic trees in Scotland…

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Winchester Cathedral lime trees culled

An avenue of lime trees in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral has been culled. The red-twigged lime trees which line the path towards the Cathedral’s western entrance will be reduced by half, with 14 of the 28 trees cut down and removed. The trees were planted in 1985 to replace the previous set of common lime trees which had become diseased and needed to be felled over safety concerns. Head Gardener at the Cathedral, Emma Sharpe, who is over seeing the work, said: “Lime Avenue is so overgrown now that we have to do something to rescue the trees or we may…

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Forestry central to a nation with ambition

government target tree planting

Confor has welcomed Nicola Sturgeon’s new Programme for Government as a “very positive sign that forestry is at the heart of rural policy thinking” in Scotland. The programme, called A Nation With Ambition, has a section called A Growing Forestry Industry, which highlights the increase in the budget for woodland creation by £4 million in 2017-18 – and promises to implement the Mackinnon report in full, including streamlining the approval process for good-quality planting applications. The document also pledges to refresh the Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group and to work with timber users “to develop, promote and facilitate…

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