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Chalara ash dieback workshop

posted on March 10, 2017

Grassington Town Hall, Grassington, Yorkshire
Thursday June 8th, 10am – 4pm

Ash dieback workshop

Ash dieback workshop

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 (Royal Forestry Society) – The biology of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.
  • Dr Gabriel Hemery (Sylva Foundation) – Getting people involved! The AshTag citizen science project.
  • Ted Wilson (Royal Forestry Society) – Silviculture and management of ash – best practice advice for woodland managers.

After lunch, we will visit Grass Woods, a mature woodland owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust which has been badly affected by Chalara ash dieback.
Numbers are limited, so to reserve your place at this important event, contact Tim Rowland at Future Trees Trust on 07896 834518 or e-mail him at Tim.Rowland@futuretrees.org


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People power appeal to save the ash reaches world’s ears

posted on May 16, 2016
Gabriel Hemery inspecting an ash tree fitted with an AshTag

Gabriel Hemery inspecting an ash tree fitted with an AshTag

As part of the publicity surrounding the relaunch of AshTag today, Sylva Foundation chief executive Gabriel Hemery was interviewed by Paul Hawkins for the BBC World Service.

The Living Ash Project is hoping that many more volunteers will help find ash trees that show some tolerance to the dieback fungus. So far one tree — nicknamed ‘Betty’— has been found by another group conducting genetic studies. We need to find at least 100 more trees that show some tolerance to ash dieback, and that’s where you can help!

Read more about the relaunch

With kind permission of the BBC, you can listen the full version of the interview using the link below.


Find out more about how you can help secure a healthy future for ash in Britain. Visit the Living Ash Project website and request a free ashtag.


The Living Ash Project is a Defra-funded consortium comprising representatives from Earth Trust, Future Trees Trust, Sylva Foundation and Forest Research. It aims to identify a large and diverse number of ash trees with good tolerance to Chalara ash dieback, to secure this material for further breeding work, and to quickly make this material available to industry.

We are indebted to volunteers of the Earth Trust in preparing the AshTag packs.


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Help tackle ash dieback

posted on

Wondering what to do about ash dieback? Here’s how you can help.

A unique project is hoping to stem the tide of the ash dieback disease by encouraging people to help in finding the solution.  Although millions of trees are at risk from the disease, the Living Ash Project, one of several research projects into ash’s resilience to dieback, is aiming to find tolerant native ash trees from which to breed the next generation of healthy trees.

Living Ash Project

Living Ash Project

The Living Ash Project is a consortium of specialists including environmental charities Earth Trust, Sylva Foundation and Future Trees Trust, and the Forestry Commission’s research agency Forest Research.

The £1.2M project, funded by Defra, is the only ash dieback project to use ‘citizen science’ to help in gathering information. Members of the public are encouraged to obtain a special aluminium tag to fix to an ash tree and submit basic details about the tree on-line, together with a photo.

The project needs to identify healthy trees, especially in areas where other ash trees are succumbing to ash dieback. As spring advances and leaves begin to appear, now is the perfect time to identify the signs of ash dieback – wilting growth and possibly even bark lesions.

Using the AshTag app on your smartphone or tablet in the field makes the survey really simple

Using the AshTag app on your smartphone or tablet in the field makes the survey really simple

The Living Ash Project urgently needs your help to identify tolerant trees. It is thought that 1% of our ash trees will show a good level of tolerance to ash dieback. The Living Ash Project needs to find at least 400 of these from across the UK to create the next generation of healthy trees. Ash tags are available free of charge from the Living Ash Project by visiting their website www.livingashproject.org.uk

Defra’s Chief Plant Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spence, said:

“Defra is very pleased to be able to support this important project. Not many people may know that 46 species of plants and animals can only live on ash trees, so it’s not only the trees we will be saving.”

Living Ash Project’s lead, Dr Jo Clark, said:

“We really need the help of the public to find healthy ash trees across the country. We’re asking anyone that spends time in the countryside and cares about our woodlands to keep their eyes open for healthy trees in areas of ash dieback and if they spot a healthy tree, report it on the project website.”

 


The Living Ash Project is a Defra-funded consortium comprising representatives from Earth Trust, Future Trees Trust, Sylva Foundation and Forest Research. It aims to identify a large and diverse number of ash trees with good tolerance to Chalara ash dieback, to secure this material for further breeding work, and to quickly make this material available to industry.


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New AshTag app available – help secure a future for ash trees in Britain

posted on February 29, 2016
AshTag-app-store

AshTag in the Apple store

We are excited to announce that our first app is now live in the Apple store – the new AshTag app.

Following the transfer of AshTag to the Sylva Foundation from the University of East Anglia, which first developed the app in 2012, we have been busy updating the app in readiness for a new season of ash tree tagging in 2016 – hopefully with your help!

We need to find ash trees across Britain that are tolerant to ash dieback. We expect that 2016 will witness the greatest spread of this devastating disease.

We offer the AshTag app to enable anyone to report on ash trees that are tolerant (to some degree) to ash dieback, caused by Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus – the fungus that causes ash dieback (formerly known as Chalara fraxinea).

We are most interested in larger trees but any tree can be surveyed. We are just as keen to learn about diseased trees as healthy trees. We 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.

Ultimately, trees that appear to have some tolerance to ash dieback will be sampled by taking cuttings, and will enter a programme aiming to breed tolerant trees to secure a future for ash trees in Britain. We are working with partners the Earth Trust and Forest Research in this project, funded by Defra.

Using the AshTag app on your smartphone or tablet in the field makes the survey really simple

Using the AshTag app on your smartphone or tablet in the field makes the survey really simple

The survey consists of five questions and is simple to complete. To take part you can simply set up an account on the website, although using the app will allow you to enter information out in the field. If you would like to request a free AshTag pack, we have some limited supplies: apply here (if you have already requested a pack, don’t worry we have your name in our system). We are particularly keen to hear from those who run communities of volunteers (contact us).

If your tree appears to be tolerant, in the future you may be contacted by a scientist from the Living Ash Project who may be interested in sampling the tree to enter it into the breeding programme.

www.livingashproject.org.uk


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Volunteers in Cornwall go ash tagging

posted on November 3, 2015

Last week volunteers got hands-on tagging ash trees in Cornwall; taking part in the Living Ash Project.

The volunteers were supported by the Helping Hands for Heritage project, funded by Heritage Lottery, aiming to expand the potential of volunteering in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where they are working towards protecting and caring for its remarkable natural and cultural heritage. Volunteers gathered at National Trust property Antony House to learn about ash dieback and how to tag ash trees so that the trees can be included in our collaborative research.

All photos (c) Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Beauty.

The Living Ash Project needs more volunteers to help find ash trees that may have some tolerance to ash dieback, and to include them in a breeding programme to secure a future for this precious native tree species.

We have a limited number of free ash tags to give away to individual volunteers, who can request these via our webform – click here. If you run a volunteer group that may be interested in getting involved, please contact Gabriel Hemery.


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Citizen science and tree health highlighted

posted on April 30, 2015
Woodland Trust Wood Wise - Spring 2015.

Woodland Trust Wood Wise – Spring 2015. Click to read and download.

The Spring issue of the Woodland Trust’s magazine Wood Wise focusses on the role that everyone in society can take in collecting important information about trees.

It includes the Living Ash Project www.livingashproject.org.uk, which is featured alongside many other great initiatives. This is a project in which we are working alongside the Earth Trust, Forest Research the Future Trees Trust, with funding from Defra. We are hoping to attract more volunteers this Spring to capture the latest spread of ash dieback and possible tolerance exhibited by some trees.

Our thanks to the Woodland Trust and editor Kay Hawes.

 


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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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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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