Ash dieback: Research, funding and policy news

7th Mar 2013

Ash fungus genetic code unravelled

UK scientists have unravelled the genetic code of the ash dieback fungus.


Bioscience to help battle ash dieback

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has launched a bioscience response to ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea), a devastating fungus that threatens our third most common broadleaf tree (after oak and birch).

2.4M of fast-track research funding has been awarded to gather an in-depth understanding of the ash dieback fungus and to provide genetic clues about some ash trees' natural resistance to attack. Computer models will also be built to develop monitoring plans for the distribution and spread of the fungus, as well as charting how the disease might progress. This knowledge will help to fight the fungus and replace lost trees with those more able to survive.


Live online Q&A – cash for ash. Will it help?

Monday 11th March, 12pm-1pm

Sequencing and analysing the genomes of the ash dieback fungus and of ash will provide the information needed to help nature recover from the current epidemic. Scientists are pooling their expertise in collaborative research funded by BBSRC. They will run a live Q&A about the research effort on Monday 11th March 12-1pm and you can start sending questions and ideas. Get in contact via Twitter using #oadb or email


Suffolk: Pioneering attempt to find ash dieback resistant trees

A pioneering drive to find trees resistant to Chalara dieback of ash could take place in Suffolk. Land owned by Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) at Arger Fen, near Assington, has been offered to the Forestry Commission to plant a number of trees to help find ash genes that are resistant to Chalara.


Scottish Chalara action plan nearing completion

A draft action plan to address the spread of Chalara die-back of ash in Scotland took a step closer to being finalised today when it was considered at a stakeholders’ summit held in Edinburgh. Organisations from the forestry, environmental and land-based sectors discussed the action plan and also explored how to tackle the range of other tree health issues facing Scotland. The plan needs to be completed within the next few weeks to inform decisions relating to the coming summer months when the disease becomes active again.


Scotland's trees face the axe in buffer zone bid to control disease

Hundreds of trees could be chopped down to halt the spread of a disease wreaking havoc on woodlands. Ministers are considering the cull in order to create a buffer zone as they fear the Chalara dieback of ash is here to stay.


Tree health survey - coming soon

In May 2013, OPAL will launch its seventh survey focusing on the health of the trees in your local environment. You can register now to be among the first people to receive the survey pack following the launch.


European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) dieback – A conservation biology challenge

Review article: Marco Pautasso, Gregor Aas, Valentin Queloz & Ottmar Holdenrieder, 2013. Biological Conservation 158, 37-49.


AshStat – ash dieback disease statistics in Britain

Silviculture Research International is tracking the emergence and spread of ash dieback disease (Chalara fraxinea) in Britain. The AshStat graphic is updated weekly, with data taken from Forestry Commission Plant Health reports.


Confor publishes Chalara and Dothistroma impacts report

A major new report highlights the importance of government support for the private forestry sector to respond to tree disease. Around 97% of woodland ash and 61% of pine (Corsican, lodgepole and Scots) is in non-state ownership. The report, commissioned by Confor, considers the potential financial and other impacts of these two important tree diseases, with context, costs, benefits and recommended actions.

Download Confor report


Irish Minister gives update on Ash Disease

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, gave an update regarding the findings of the ash disease Chalara fraxinea or ash dieback. In total there are now 46 confirmed cases of the disease. Of these 26 are in forestry plantations in Counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Meath, Tipperary and Waterford. There are 14 Horticultural Nurseries that have tested positive for the disease, three samples from roadside landscaping have tested positive as well as one Garden Centre, one private garden and one farm.


Meeting: Genomics and the health of trees

10am Thursday 7th March 2013

Royal National Hotel, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0DG

This lecture by Dr. Richard Buggs (Queen Mary, University of London) is part of this year’s Biology Day Conference for A-level students in years 12 and 13.


Meetings: Chalara Fraxinea (Ash Dieback) – an update

Forestry Commission Scotland is running 3 events across Scotland in March:

22nd March: Grantown-on-Spey
25th March: Moffat
26th March: University of Stirling

These events will provide key stakeholders with an update on the status of the chalara fraxinea (Ash Dieback) disease in Scotland and your local area, how the disease is being monitored, highlight guidance on how to identify/manage diseased woodland.

The events will involve presentations and discussion from Hugh Clayden, Tree Health Policy Advisor, Forestry Commission Scotland and Dr Steven Hendry, Forest Research. Highland Conservator, John Risby, will chair the events.


The biosecurity threat to the UK and global environment from international trade in plants

Native plant communities, woodlands and landscapes in the UK and across the world are suffering from pathogens introduced by human activities. Many of these pathogens arrive on or with living plants. The potential for damage in the future may be large, but current international regulations aimed at reducing the risks take insufficient account of scientific evidence and, in practice, are often highly inadequate. In this Letter, Clive Brasier outlines the problems and discusses some possible approaches to reducing the threats.


Preventing invasive pathogens: deficiencies in the system

Import controls are meant to protect our gardens and environment from devastating plant diseases, but Clive Brasier believes that the global system is fundamentally flawed because it ignores scientific realities: he recommends some solutions.


Ash Dieback MONITOR

A searchable collection of curated and analysed summaries of news articles on ash dieback.


Recent posts on the OpenAshDieBack crowdsourcing hub:

Sequence analysis of fruiting bodies isolated from Ash trees at Ashwellthorpe lower wood

World Geospatial Data added


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


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