Ash dieback - research, funding and policy news: 7 August 2013

7th Aug 2013

Fight tree diseases with a united front says Owen Paterson

Working together is the best way to defend British trees and plants from the pests and diseases threatening them, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said. He was speaking at a meeting of woodland organisations and forestry groups, who were discussing the report by the independent Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce.

 

Forestry functions in England: review

This report summarises the conclusions of the review of government’s forestry functions in England. The review’s objective was to advise Ministers and the Forestry Commissioners on how government’s ongoing forestry expertise and functions in England would best deliver the objectives of the Forestry and Woodlands policy statement.

 

Protecting Europe’s crops and woodland from pests and pathogens

In the UK, Plant Health Officials are approving a newly developed portable DNA testing device for disease diagnosis. They are checking for ash dieback, the spore-borne disease caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea which, according to the UK Forestry Commission, has infected more than 330 sites in the UK and resulted in the destruction of tens of thousands of young trees. A sample of infected bark is taken from an ash tree and prepared in a manner which can amplify and detect DNA from the organism. The result is available within minutes rather than the days it would have taken if the sample had been sent for laboratory analysis. Since speed is of critical importance in diagnosing such disease outbreaks, this is a major step forward.

 

Vacancy: Plant Health Officer – Forestry Commission

The successful candidate will work to establish effective delivery of Forestry Commission Plant Health delivery objectives through (1) survey, analysis & monitoring, (2) engagement and advice as well as through, (3) enforcement of forestry and plant health regulations where required.

Closing date for applications: 8 August 2013

 

Save the ash tree? Half of us can’t even recognise an oak

An appeal for the public to report tree disease has merely revealed our arboreal ignorance. More than four-fifths of people cannot identify an ash tree from its leaves and almost half cannot recognise an oak, a survey has revealed.

 

Temperature effect on Chalara fraxinea: heat treatment of saplings as a possible disease control method

In this paper by Hauptman et al. the authors show that in hot weather periods, thermal conditions inside the ash tissues can be extreme enough to markedly decrease the viability of C. fraxinea in infected plant tissues.

 

Moving forward from ash dieback

Thursday 1 — Saturday 31 August 2013

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

This display explores the impact of ash dieback on our economy, our biodiversity and our landscape, and highlights how we can learn from this experience.

 

Virtual landscape theatre (moving forward from ash dieback)

Thursday 8 — Tuesday 13 August 2013

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Explore a virtual ash woodland in the James Hutton Institute’s Virtual Landscape Theatre. See what effects the disease has on an ash woodland and what it could look like in the future.

 

If you have details of meetings, research, funding or policy news on ash dieback that you would like circulating, please email them to mimitanimoto@societyofbiology.org

 

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