25th October 2012
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has called for an emergency 5 point plan to prevent ‘ash dieback’ from decimating ash trees in Scotland. The killer disease was officially confirmed for the first time as being free in the UK’s natural environment today and its spread could be catastrophic for one of Scotland's most important 'keystone' tree species. Many of our native species are dependent on ash, including birds like the bullfinch and butterflies such as the dingy skipper.
Ash dieback is caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus and often leads to the death of the ash trees it affects. Defra today confirmed the diseases at two sites in East Anglia.
Earlier this year the disease was found at a Forestry Commission Scotland woodland at Knockmountain, near Kilmacolm, west of Glasgow.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust believes that emergency action is required now to halt the spread of the disease, which is a major threat to Scotland's and the UK's woodland ecosystems.
The Trust’s emergency 5 point plan is:
Bruce Wilson from the Scottish Wildlife Trust said:
“In the second half of the 20th century we saw how Dutch elm disease transformed the British countryside by killing millions of elm trees. Ash dieback, if allowed to spread in the UK, could have the same catastrophic effects and we need to act quickly and decisively to prevent this from happening.”
The Scottish Wildlife Trust would not exist without the help of its members and supporters.
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The Scottish Wildlife Trust is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland (registered number SC040247), having its registered office at