The spread of ash dieback in the UK hit the headlines last year bringing the issues of forest health to the fore (see Ash dieback hits British countryside. But what is the current status of the disease?
Much has been done since outbreak, a helpline has been set up and The Forestry Commission has been tracking the dieback and has recently published a map with 378 confirmed findings of the diseases (as of the 18th Feb). In addition, a key scientific facts paper has been prepared by the expert group led by the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir John Beddington.
The Food and Environmenta Research Agency (Fera) has a website with images of disease symptoms and also some videos of the brief history, life cycle and symptoms of Chalara (http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/plantHealth/pestsDiseases/chalaraInfo.cfm), and the UK Plant Sciences Federation has recently introduced a new website that collates the latest research information on ash dieback (http://treehealth.plantsci.org.uk/).
A great amount of information has been made available to the public to check for ash dieback, examples include The Ash Dieback Pocket Guide produced by the Woodland Trust, and a ‘how you can help’ page on the National Trust website (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/what-we-do/big-issues/nature-and-outdoors/ash-dieback/).