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Ash Dieback - practical steps

Get monitoring - using ATH maps & data

As forestry experts, govenment departments and leading charities work on responses to the threat from Ash Dieback the Ancient Tree Hunt's public database of ancient and important trees publishes a key map of significant Ash trees across the UK.

The map - which is only a small number of old or important ash in the UK - shows important clusters of ancient Ash with individual tree data stored on each record.

Ancient ash distribution, ATH data

Ancient Tree Hunt project leader, Jill Butler of the Woodland Trust, says: "What I would like to see is all important Ash trees on the Ancient Tree Hunt public database. And it would be terrific if recorders could return at least once a year to see how the tree is doing and upload an image every year. That way we can track its progress through the outbreak."

Here are the Ancient Tree Hunt's three steps for recorders to help with Ash Dieback monitoring:

1. Search the database for existing records. If no records for your trees exist add as many veteran and ancient Ash as you can

2. Visit Ash trees near you (see the ATH interactive map), ideally re-visiting them annually. If it has the disease let us know and report it to the relevant organisation or use the Ashtag app http://ashtag.org/

3. Photograph ancient or veteran Ash trees near you: once uploaded to the Ancient Tree Hunt database, these images can be used to monitor future progress of the trees.

Ancient ash near Overton on Dee

A beautiful ancient ash at Overton on Dee, Wrexham with Jill Butler and Ted Green. Photo: Rob McBride

Get in touch with ancienttreehunt@woodlandtrust.org.uk for more information.

The Woodland Trust's detailed advice on Ash Dieback includes the following points for ancient, veteran and hedgerow trees
o Dead and declining trees should wherever possible be left standing
o Limiting management (pollarding) to reduce the likelihood of infection.
o Getting a better understanding of specificity of affiliate species (the dependence of other species on ash)
o Identifying resistant genotypes that can be used to create successor generations for affiliate species
o Considering the management of alternate host tree species for those affiliate species of ancient and veteran trees with low specificity (those species able to live on both ash and other trees)
o Focussing effort of ancient tree concentrations where a high proportion of Chalara symptom free ash trees remain (>40%) as these are the sites most likely to retain viable populations of affiliate species
o Consideration of planting of alternative hedgerow tree species to maintain landscape and ecosystem integrity in the longer term
o Establishing monitoring of habitat change, especially in relation to the degree of management (recent pollarding)

For more information follow The Woodland Trust's Tree Disease site

http://treedisease.co.uk/threats-to-our-trees/ash-dieback/.

See also the Ancient Tree Forum's paper.