As the impact of the devastating disease ash dieback on the UK treescape gathers pace, woodland owners and managers are sharing their experiences to help others manage that impact.
A new resource by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS), in partnership with the Forestry Commission, shares case studies from ten sites as they tackle ash dieback.
The case studies range from woodlands within historic landscapes looking to keep the local character of the treescape, to owners coming together to fell roadside trees to maintain their safety. And from a business that may lose the coppice woodland from which it sources bespoke walking sticks, to sites taking a wait-and-see approach, and others looking to maximise timber values.
RFS Chief Executive Simon Lloyd said:
“Ash dieback has now spread across England and Wales. Evidence suggests we will lose more than 90% of our ash trees and that will have an enormous impact not just on the trees we see in our woodland, but on the timber we produce in the future in the UK. Ash dieback is likely to be as transformative to the landscape as Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s.
“Our thanks go to all the owners featured in this report for sharing their experiences. There is no effective preventative or curative treatment. How woodland owners respond will depend on their individual management objectives and the age and size of the trees. These case studies demonstrate a number of different approaches to help others facing similar scenarios.
“Research is ongoing to breed tolerant trees, but in the meantime we may lose a generation of ash trees from our woodlands. With this loss however come some opportunities to look again at the trees we are planting in our woods, and to restock using species, native and non-native, which are likely to be tolerant to the challenges of pests, diseases and climate change in the future.”
Each of the case studies featured is willing to be contacted for further information. The resource also signposts to further reading and guidance on identifying symptoms, ash management, health and safety, restocking and resilience.
Find it online at https://www.rfs.org.uk/about/publications/rfs-research-reports/