Due to Covid-19, we have reduced personnel at the offices of the Sylva Foundation and our premises at the Sylva Wood Centre. Emails and phone messages are being checked but please allow a little longer than usual to receive a response.
Please do not arrange a formal visit without first checking with us. Members of the public are free to enjoy our network of permitted paths through the Future Forest as usual.

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search results for: ash

Have you tagged your ash trees yet?

posted on July 2, 2014
Living Ash Project website

Living Ash Project website

Sylva is asking for help in adding ash trees to an important nationwide survey. We want volunteers to ‘tag’ trees and complete a simple survey online.

We still have a few tags available to give away free, on a first-come, first-served basis. If you would like to receive a pack of five tree tags for free please:

register your interest here

We are asking members of the public to get involved by tagging up to five ash trees that will be surveyed once every year. Tag packs consisting of five tags have been developed, each with a unique identification number, plus aluminium nails to affix it to the tree stem (these do not harm the tree), together with full instructions. Once that the trees are tagged, we ask volunteers to complete a simple annual survey about its health. The survey is hosted by our partner Ashtag and is available online on computer, tablet or smartphone. Volunteers are asked to pinpoint the tree location(s) on an online map, take a photograph, then answer five straightforward questions.

As Chalara ash dieback spreads across the British Isles, the Living Ash Project aims to identify and secure ash trees that show good tolerance to the fungus that causes the dieback (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus) and use these individual trees as the foundation of a breeding programme.

Partners in the Living Ash Project will be assessing the many thousands of trees that exist already in a breeding programme for ash, and we will use citizen science to screen the wider population – and this is where your help is needed. Later, we will produce trees that show good tolerance to the fungus, and plant them on the public forest estate as an archive, freely available to the forest industry. We will also develop techniques to enable us to rapidly produce large numbers of tolerant trees for reforestation. The five year project is funded by Defra.

Read more about the Living Ash Project


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Help in a nationwide hunt for healthy ash trees

posted on May 29, 2014
Living Ash Project website

Living Ash Project website

As a partner in the Living Ash Project the Sylva Foundation is asking for help in adding ash trees to an important nationwide survey.

As Chalara ash dieback spreads across the British Isles, the Living Ash Project aims to identify and secure ash trees that show good tolerance to the fungus that causes the dieback (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus) and use these individual trees as the foundation of a breeding programme.

We are asking members of the public to get involved by tagging up to five ash trees that will be surveyed once every year. Tag packs consisting of five tags have been developed, each with a unique identification number, plus aluminium nails to affix it to the tree stem (these do not harm the tree), together with full instructions. Once that the trees are tagged, we ask volunteers to complete a simple annual survey about its health. The survey is hosted by our partner Ashtag and is available online on computer, tablet or smartphone. Volunteers will be asked to pinpoint the tree location(s) on an online map, take a photograph, then answer five straightforward questions.

We have a limited number of tags to give away free, on a first-come, first-served basis. If you would like to receive a pack of five tree tags for free please:

register your interest here

Partners in the Living Ash Project will be assessing the many thousands of trees that exist already in a breeding programme for ash, and we will use citizen science to screen the wider population – and this is where your help is needed. Later, we will produce trees that show good tolerance to the fungus, and plant them on the public forest estate as an archive, freely available to the forest industry. We will also develop techniques to enable us to rapidly produce large numbers of tolerant trees for reforestation. The five year project is funded by Defra.

Read more about the Living Ash Project


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Chalara ash dieback workshop

posted on May 21, 2014

Lawshill village hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Wednesday June 18th, 9.30am – 4pm
 

Do you want to know more about the recovery from ash dieback?

Do you know how to deal with ash dieback on your land?

This free workshop will bring together managers of ash research sites, concerned land-owners and managers of woodlands experiencing or threatened by Chalara ash dieback. The aim is to share information and experience and to renew partnerships in ash genetics and tree improvement research.

Speakers at the workshop will be:-

  • Dr Jo Clark, Earth Trust – The Future Trees Trust ash improvement programme and the Living Ash Project.
  • Ted Wilson, Silviculture Research International – The biology of Chalara fraxinea, identification and reporting of infected ash trees.
  • Dr Ian Bancroft, University of York –The genomics of ash and current research on markers for disease resistance
  • Dr Gabriel Hemery, Sylva Foundation – Getting people involved! The AshTag citizen science project.
  • Ted Wilson,Silviculture Research International – Silviculture and management of ash – best practice advice for woodland managers.

After lunch, we will visit two local woodlands to see Chalara ash dieback – Frithy Wood, a mature woodland and
Golden Wood, a young woodland where ash dieback was first reported in Suffolk.

Numbers are limited, so to reserve your place at this important event, contact Tim Rowland on 01453 884264 or
e-mail him at: Tim.Rowland@futuretrees.org

Living Ash Project

Living Ash Project

The Living Ash Project is a DEFRA-funded five-year project to identify resilient ash trees and to develop
techniques to rapidly reproduce them. Learn more about the Living Ash Project at www.livingashproject.org.uk
This workshop is kindly supported by Suffolk County Council.


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Public asked to help survey health of ash trees across UK

posted on April 22, 2014

The Living Ash Project is asking members of the public to report information about the health of ash trees. They are especially interested in those that may have some tolerance to the disease that is threatening Britain’s second-most common broadleaved tree – Chalara ash dieback.  The Living Ash Project aims to identify trees that are tolerant to ash dieback.

Launching today, anyone can log into an online survey, and report on the health of an ash tree, not just this year, but over the next few years. The project is employing citizen science – asking members of the public to help in gathering information – to aid in the identification of tolerant trees.  Working with the University of East Anglia’s Adapt Group, a new function has been added to the AshTag app. Members of the public can log into the site at www.ashtag.org/sightings/submit

There are an estimated 120 million ash trees in Britain’s woodlands and hedgerows. Evidence from Denmark, where Chalara ash dieback is more prevalent, indicates that approximately 1% of trees show good tolerance to the disease. While tolerant trees may regenerate naturally in some woodlands, identifying tolerant trees is urgently needed so as to ensure a genetically diverse and resilient population for future woodland planting. Identifying tolerant trees and including their progeny in breeding programmes run by the Living Ash Project will enable the large-scale production of resilient trees.

Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive at the Sylva Foundation says: “The launch of this survey is a milestone in the development of the project. We will be working closely with AshTag to oversee the online survey and look forward to receiving submissions from members of the public”. He added, “Enabling people to follow the progress of an ash tree is very important, as it will allow us to understand the tolerance of a tree to this devastating disease”.

Chris Blincoe, Programme Manager at the Adapt Group, University of East Anglia says: “The AshTag app was created at a time when the nation’s ash trees were first under threat from ash dieback and the outlook for the species was pretty bleak. Time really was of the essence if we wanted to safeguard our forests and so Adapt had the app up and running just four days after it was confirmed that ash dieback had spread to the UK. Eighteen months on, we are incredibly proud to be in a position to start looking ahead to find a solution to the disease.”

“By asking members of the public across the UK to track the health of their local ash trees, we can tap into a wealth of data which could hold the key to locating tolerant trees and safeguard the future of the UK’s ash trees.”

The Living Ash Project team are most interested in larger trees but any tree can be surveyed. They are particularly keen to survey ash trees in every corner of Britain, because the genetics of ash trees vary across the country. Ideally, the trees selected need to be surveyed every year for at least three years, so that a detailed picture of their health is built up.

People who want to find out more can visit www.livingashproject.org.uk to take the survey and to get free tags to track the health of their tree.


download press release

download press release

Download the full press release


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Calling woodland owners – help wanted in ash dieback research

posted on March 13, 2014

Sylva Scholar Louise Hill – who is studying the consequences of Chalara ash dieback in British woodlands (read more) – is looking for woodland sites in the south of Britain where she could set up her experiments. If you are a woodland owner, perhaps you could help her?

Louise Hill, Sylva Scholar

Louise Hill, Sylva Scholar

Louise explains:

I am looking for areas of deciduous woods, with ash mixed in to it ideally at a density of around 300 stems/ha (i.e., not an ash monoculture). Within each site I want to set up at least one (ideally two or three) blocks of plots; each block will contain three plots of 25 x 25m, one of which will have 100% of the ash ring-barked, one 50% and on 0% (control). The experiment will look into the effects of loss of ash trees on growth rates of the remaining trees, recruitment of seedlings of other species (ash seedlings will be removed), and also effects on the ground flora. It will also look into any interactions with deer abundance for these effects. I am looking for sites in Oxfordshire, Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

If you have a suitable site, and are prepared to have some ash trees sacrificed in this way, please contact Louise directly to discuss further. She can be reached at louise.hill@plants.ox.ac.uk.


Read more about the Sylva Scholarship

 

 


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Living Ash Project – securing the future for ash trees in Britain

posted on November 13, 2013
Living Ash Project

Living Ash Project

Today sees the launch of the Living Ash Project – a Defra-funded consortium of Earth Trust, Future Trees Trust, Sylva Foundation and Forest Research – aiming to identify ash trees with good tolerance to Chalara ash die-back, to sample these trees for further breeding work, and to make this material quickly available to industry.

There are an estimated 120 million ash trees in Britain’s woodlands and hedgerows. Evidence from Denmark, where Chalara ash die-back is more prevalent, indicates that approximately 1% of trees show good resistance to the disease.

While natural selection in some woodlands could enable resistant regeneration, the identification of resistant trees is needed as the basis for a genetically diverse and resilient population for future productive woodland planting.  Quickly identifying resistant trees and using them in a breeding programme will enable us to rapidly produce resilient trees.

The Living Ash Project aims to secure ash trees for the future that show resistance to Chalara ash die-back. It is important that a good proportion of trees that make it through a screening programme will be suitable for timber production to ensure a continued supply of this valuable product for the future. The project partners have been working on breeding ash for improved timber characteristics for over twenty years and in this time have assembled a substantial collection of ash trees from across ash’s native range which has great genetic diversity.

Sylva’s CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery said:

“Sylva’s main role in the project will be to work with members of the public, including woodland owners, who we want to report the presence of healthy trees.” He continued, “We will be announcing details soon about a national ash tree survey, which we hope people across Britain will get involved in: after-all, the future of our ash rests in all our hands.”

The Living Ash Project incorporates work programmes to:-

i)                   identify individual trees that show good tolerance of Chalara ash die-back

ii)                  screen these individuals using genetic markers developed by other Defra funded research

iii)                secure material from these trees in archives for further breeding purposes

iv)                develop techniques for rapid production of tolerant trees for deployment to the forestry sector

 

Project leader Dr Jo Clark from Earth Trust said:

“This is a great example of charities and government agencies such as Forest Research working together to address what is probably the biggest issue facing our woodlands today. Earth Trust, Sylva Foundation and Future Trees Trust together have dozens of partners and supporters across the forestry sector, all of whom will be getting involved in the awareness, screening and identification work.”

Defra’s Chief Plant Health Officer Martin Ward said:

““We know we can’t eradicate Chalara but the Living Ash project offers  a real solution in dealing with the disease.  Britain’s woodlands are constantly evolving but projects like this one will ensure that ash trees have a place in the woodlands of the future.”

In total, including in-kind contributions from the many partners, the project will cost approximately £1.2M and will take six years to complete.


Information can be found on the project website www.livingashproject.org.uk 


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New Sylva Scholar starts research on ecosystem consequences of ash dieback

posted on October 16, 2013

Our second Sylva Scholar has started her research at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, funded partly by the Sylva Scholarship. Louise Hill, who was an undergraduate at Oxford before completing an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation  at the University of East Anglia, has returned to Oxford undertake a DPhil research project studying the Ecosystem consequences of ash dieback.

Louise Hill - Sylva Scholar

Louise Hill – Sylva Scholar

Louise said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to work on one of the key conservation issues currently playing out in the UK and Europe. I hope that I will be able to make a valuable contribution to our understanding of this subject, and development, if possible, mitigation steps during the course of my DPhil.”

Louise has worked previously as an assistant reserve warden for the National Trust at Wicken Fen NNR in Cambridgeshire. She has also carried out a five month research project in Malaysian Borneo investigating the effects of rainforest logging on the parasite loads of Bornean birds.

Ash Dieback, caused by the fungal agent Chalara fraxinea, is an emerging lethal disease of ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior) which is threatening ash survival in many parts of Europe. In Denmark, for instance, which saw its first observed case in 2002, up to 90% of the entire ash population has become infected. The disease was first found in Britain in February 2012 and current estimates suggest that subsequent spread may affect between 90% and 99% of all British ash trees.

The project aims to investigate:

  1. The current distribution of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in the UK and its likely ecological roles.
  2. Changes in biotic and abiotic conditions within ash-dominated woodlands before, during and after infection with Chalara fraxinea.
  3. The ecosystem consequences of losing 90% to 99% of ash trees, particularly with regard to landscape connectivity. The high percentage of ash in hedgerow corridors between forest habitats may be among the most important ecological roles of ash in the UK.
  4. Synergistic effects on biodiversity of co-occurrence with other major tree diseases, including Oak Decline and Chestnut Bleeding Canker.

 

The Sylva Scholarship was launched in Autumn 2010 in partnership with the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford. The theme of the scholarship is healthy trees and productive forests. Sylva is keen to raise sufficient funds to secure the scholarship in perpituity – read more about our fundraising campaign.

Read the latest news on the scholarship from our blog


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Ash dieback discovered in Dorset

posted on August 22, 2013
close up of Chalara fraxinea lesion on young ash coppice stem

close up of Chalara fraxinea lesion on young ash coppice stem

In the week that AshTag relaunched to enable citizens to report both healthy and diseased ash trees Chalara fraxinea or ash dieback, was discovered in a thirteenth county in England. The latest county, Dorset, joins Cambridgeshire, Devon, East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northumberland, Suffolk, Surrey, West Sussex and Yorkshire.

According to Defra the disease has now been confirmed in 557 sites including 198 locations in the wider environment. Chalara was discovered in England’s woodland last Autumn as a result of the intensive survey carried out of sites across the UK where ash trees are known to be present. It is also found in sites across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, although most of these currently are on sites planted (unknowingly) with diseased trees in recent years.

On a recent Good Woods visit to a woodland in south east England, a new case was discovered by one of our advisors. It had previously gone unnoticed by the owner, and only came to light during the visit as a management advice was being drawn up.


Further information


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Chalara fraxinea – dieback of ash Advisory Note

posted on August 2, 2013

The Forestry Commission and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) are advising owners to extend their vigilance to ash trees planted up to 20 years ago as a part of work to develop further our under- standing of the impact of the disease on ash of this age.  Large quantities of ash were imported from parts of continental Europe where the disease had been present before 2007 and this could mean that the disease was present on a very small proportion of plants imported from the continent at least 10 years ago.

Click on the link below to read the Forestry Commission’s advisory note, including what they would like woodland owners to do if they suspect that ash dieback if affecting their woodland.

Chalara Advisory Note Jul 13

Category: myForest

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A venerable ash for The New Sylva

posted on March 18, 2013

Reblogged from The New Sylva

The authors of The New Sylva have been searching, with help from readers of their book blog, for the best example of a venerable ash tree in Britain to feature in the book. Last week our artist-in-residence, Sarah Simblet, visited the chosen tree with co-author Gabriel Hemery. It is growing in the ancient deer park at Moccas in Herefordshire, among dozens of other ancient oak and sweet chestnut trees.

The ash tree at Moccas is an indeterminable age but certainly over 500 years old – unusually old for ash that does not have the longevity of oak or sweet chestnut. Its girth measures over 8m, and its huge bole is riddled with hollows and bulbous knolls hiding the stumps of long-lost branches. While the old crown has retrenched, a classic symptom of a veteran tree, several rapidly-growing new stems have arisen to ensure a healthy living crown. Read more …

Sarah Simblet working on the composition of the venerable ash tree for The New Sylva

Sarah Simblet working on the composition of the venerable ash tree for The New Sylva


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