Ash dieback: Research, funding and policy news – 9 May 2014

9th May 2014

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Updated Tree Health Management Plan published

The tree health management plan sets out government’s approach to tree health in England which is in line with the Plant Biosecurity Strategy. It includes updates on the management approaches to Chalara ash dieback, Phytophthora Ramorum, Phytophthora kernovia and Oak Processionary Moth. It also sets out how government and a wide range of other partners are managing new and future threats to our tree population in England.


Ash disease ‘unstoppable’ as it spreads to nearly every county in Ireland

Deadly ash dieback disease has spread to nearly every county in the country, sparking a warning it is now unstoppable. The tree disease has been found in 120 locations nationwide and resulted in the felling of 1,300 acres of forest.


Assessing and addressing the impacts of ash dieback on UK woodlands and trees of conservation importance (Phase 2) (NECR151)

This report by Natural England assesses the potential ecological impact of ash dieback on UK woodlands and species and investigates possible woodland management options which might ameliorate the problems caused by ash dieback. The work has been jointly funded by Defra, Department of the Environment Northern Ireland, Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural Resources Wales.


Ash dieback ‘could affect 75% of trees in worst-hit areas’

The deadly fungus, Chalara fraxinea will infect most ash trees in the south and east of England by 2018, government models suggest. Conservationists said such a rapid spread would be “devastating” to landscapes and have a “very real economic cost”.


Spread of ash dieback disease is slowing, says Defra

Ash dieback disease is spreading more slowly than had been feared and new chemical treatments may be able to save the most valued mature ash trees in parks and woodlands, according to government scientists.


Citizen science to help fight ash dieback woes

The Future Trees Trust is one of the partners in a new initiative, the Living Ash Project, which is asking members of the public to report information about the health of ash trees. They are especially interested in trees that may have some tolerance to the disease – Chalara ash dieback – that is threatening our second-most common broadleaved tree.


New tree health research projects announced

Seven new research projects have received a share of £7M to help address threats to UK forests, woods and trees. The multi-disciplinary Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative (THAPBI) will generate knowledge to tackle pests and diseases and to support the future health of the UK’s woodlands, commercial forests and urban trees. The societal benefits of the UK’s trees are estimated at around £1.8 billion per year.


A volatile lactone of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus, pathogen of European ash dieback, inhibits host germination

The largely unknown secondary metabolism of the plant pathogenic fungus Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus was investigated by use of the CLSA method. A set of volatile lactones was identified by GC/MS. The lactones were synthesized and used in bioassays in which one of the compounds was found to be a strong germination inhibitor for ash seeds, causing necroses in the plant tissue.


Recent posts on the OpenAshDieBack crowdsourcing hub:

-FIR analysis: genes encoding predicted secreted proteins occur in both gene sparse and gene dense regions of the H. pseudoalbidus genome

-The mitochondrial genome of H. pseudoalbidus

-Year 1 report available on bioRxiv


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