Ash dieback: Research, funding and policy news – 30 July 2014

30th Jul 2014

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Ash dieback in the UK: how will it affect the rest of the woodland ecosystem?

Ash dieback in the UK is likely to lead to the extinction or decline of over 50 species which are reliant on or highly associated with this tree, including mosses, lichens and beetles, a new study suggests. The researchers recommend that the ash trees are not felled but left to die naturally and in time replaced with mixtures of species such as beech and sycamore which support similar woodland species.


Hymenoscyphus samples needed

In recent years, extensive mortality of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) has occurred, as a result of infection by the pathogen Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus. Forest Research is investigating the genetics and biology of the causal pathogen, but this task would be helped if we could compare it to other Hymenoscyphus sp. that occur on species other than ash.

If anyone comes across any Hymenoscyphus specimens (white fruiting bodies, formed late spring / summer on stems, see below), we would be most grateful to receive samples.

Please could samples be sent dry and the following information (where possible) provided:

-Host species

-Sample location

-Sample date

-Name of collector

-Any other information (e.g. suspected Hymenoscyphus sp., presence / absence of crosiers, spore sizes etc.).

Please send samples to: Joan Webber / Kevin King, Centre for Ecosystems Society and Biosecurity, Forest Research, Alice Holt Lodge, Gravel Hill Road, Farnham, GU10 4LH.


TGAC releases new genetic data to combat ash dieback epidemic

The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) has released new genetic data that will help understand the spread of the ash dieback epidemic, across Europe and the UK. As part of the NORNEX consortium, TGAC has sequenced 20 genomes of the fungus (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) responsible for the spread of the ash dieback epidemic that threatens our third most common broadleaf tree (after oak and birch). The data is available for analysis on the crowdsourcing site OpenAshDieBack.


Draft assemblies of ash tree unigenes and proteome

Draft assemblies of ash tree unigenes and proteome are available for download from The British Ash Tree Genome Project website.


Recent post on the OpenAshDieback crowdsourcing hub:

Genome sequencing of 23 strains of H. pseudoalbidus from Europe


More than 80,000 trees felled across Northern Ireland after ash disease hits 90 sites

According to Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill, the disease has been confirmed at more than 90 sites. Some 3,000 sites have been inspected since the outbreak of the virulent plant disease was first detected here in November 2012. Of these confirmed outbreaks, 63 were found in forestry plantations, three in nursery or trade sites, nine in urban amenity settings, three on roadsides, 10 in private gardens and four in hedgerows. No confirmed reports show the disease infecting mature ash trees in Northern Ireland.


Tree health and plant biosecurity

Government Response to the Committee’s Tenth Report of Session 2013-14 – Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee


Chalara fraxinea: Empowering land owners, people and communities to make informed decisions and take appropriate action

Tuesday 12th August 2014, 18.30-21:00, Mendlesham Community Centre, Suffolk.

Tuesday 26th August, 18.30-21:0, The Ancell Centre, Hadleigh, Suffolk

Organised by Mid-Suffolk and Babergh District, EATaLOG and Suffolk County Council

To book a place, email


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

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