The outbreak of ash dieback caused by Chalara fraxinea is a serious threat to the future survival of ash in Britain. We want volunteers to Adopt an Ash in readiness for a major survey that we will launch in late Spring 2013. This is a new TreeWatch survey that is being developed with our partners.
As one of Britain’s most common trees, the loss of up to 90% of ash trees across of our countryside and our streets, is expected to have a massive and long-lasting impact on the landscape and woodland ecology.
You can help find ‘resistant’ ash trees across the country and track the development of the disease. Your data will be shared with a consortium of forestry and horticultural experts. By adopting your ash tree now you will be ready to take part in a robust scientific survey to be launched Early Spring, by which time the disease will be easy to spot.
We recognise that there are other volunteer projects in existence, such as Ashtag, but we believe that we are well-placed to collect and share data with partners through our tried and tested TreeWatch initiative with the following unique and important objectives:
- the main objective will be to try and identify ‘resistant’ trees that could be used in a breeding programme to secure a future for ash in Britain;
- the Adopt an Ash tree method supports a relationship with the volunteer and allows repeat assessments to be undertaken;
- by asking volunteers to identify and report both the presence and absence of Chalara fraxinea, we will be able to track the progress of the disease on individual trees and across the country over coming years.
For now we are asking volunteers to select trees that they will be able survey next year, and to ‘adopt’ them in the usual way at www.TreeWatch.com/chalara.
By late Spring 2013 the disease will be easier to identify in our ash trees and we will open our survey in time to allow volunteers to report their findings. We will share tree data (note not personal data) with a consortium of leading forestry and horticultural experts.