A report out recently from the Forestry Commission (See Guardian 31 October 2012) warning of the prevalence of fungal diseases affecting a range of native UK trees, will not come as a complete surprise to anyone walking in the Thornthwaite Forest vicinity.
Last year I was warned that larch forests were at risk from a fungal infection and as a result the Forestry Commission was having to cut down a three acres site above the footpath that leads across the fields from Thornthwaite to Braithwaite.
Now even more serious is the threat to the native English ash tree, which could be decimated if the spread of the ash dieback fungus, appearing last month in East Anglia, is not stopped. The cause appears to be unregulated importing of plants from other countries. The Government needs to act soon to address this serious threat to the countryside. Spread the word if you can.
One positive development to note (See story in Guardian, 29 October 2012) is that a group of academics and developers has just developed an AshTag app for smartphones, which will allow users to send details and photos of suspected examples of the fungus (the leaves of the ash droop and go black) to a central point for the Forestry Commission to investigate. It’s a great example of crowdsourcing to deal with a potentially country wide problem and the app is from today available for download by clicking on the AshTag app website.