Fun­gal dis­ease means ash trees will be cut down at Dovedale

Leek Post & Times - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

NA­TIONAL Trust rangers are work­ing hard to en­sure pub­lic safety and im­prove wood­lands in the Peak District dales in re­sponse to the threat posed by a fun­gal tree dis­ease.

Ash dieback – some­times known as Chalara – ar­rived in Bri­tain in 2012 and af­fects ash trees, which are the dom­i­nant tree in the White Peak and form around 80 per cent of the canopy of our woods.

Na­tional Trust of­fi­ci­uals say ex­pe­ri­ence from Europe has demon­strated that the vast ma­jor­ity of ash trees may be af­fected by the dis­ease over the next few years.

It is hard to spot the symp­toms at this time of year but in sum­mer the lack of leaves on many White Peak ash trees is now very ob­vi­ous to see.

Con­trac­tors will start work soon to fell ash trees that may pose a haz­ard to the pub­lic in Dovedale where trained rangers have iden­ti­fied around 80 trees by the main path that are dead or close to death and re­quire work.

The rangers also have a sig­nif­i­cant wood­land man­age­ment project un­der way to im­prove the qual­ity of White Peak woods for wildlife, espe­cially in the face of ash dieback.

Small ar­eas of wood­land are felled to pro­mote nat­u­ral re­gen­er­a­tion by tree species other than ash, while in some places the rangers and vol­un­teers will also plant na­tive trees to en­sure the woods con­tinue to thrive.

Luke Bar­ley, lead ranger in the White Peak, said: “Ash dieback poses a big threat to the health of the many ash trees in the White Peak and our wood­lands are in­evitably go­ing to change dra­mat­i­cally.

“The ranger team work hard to en­sure pub­lic safety so some trees will be felled along the main path in Dovedale.

“But we as­sess them care­fully and only cut those down where it’s re­ally nec­es­sary.

“We’re also work­ing hard to pro­mote bio­di­ver­sity in our woods in the face of this threat.’

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