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Sylva Blog

The oneoak blog is part of the SYLVA Foundation blog which contains news about the organisation and all our initiatives.

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Forest owners, managers and policy-makers may remain unaware of the potential that the use of forest genetic resources offers for facilitating the adaptation of forests to climate change. We summarise the latest guidelines for foresters in England.

Forestry Horizons Occasional Paper, No.1

Forestry Horizons Occasional Paper, No.1

A working group of European Forest Genetic Programme (EUFORGEN) recently considered the use and transfer of forest reproductive materials or FRM in the context of the challenges of climate change. They examined scientific research on provenance and adaptation, including several case studies of transfer, the existing regulatory framework and recent policy developments, guidelines on FRM transfer and their scientific basis, and future challenges and opportunities.

Forestry Commission England asked the Forestry Horizons think-tank to consider this evidence and highlight practical information of importance to foresters. With the addition of specific geographic and policy advice the paper has been made particularly relevant to the forestry sector in England.

You can view the paper in the Forestry Horizons online library, where it can be downloaded for free.


Citation:

Hemery, G. (2016). Use and transfer of forest reproductive material in England in the context of climate change. Forestry Horizons Occasional Paper, No.1. 5pp. www.forestryhorizons.eu ISSN 2053-3241

 

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

Following the successful Royal Forestry Society and Woodland Trust conference in October, on the theme of resilient woodlands, the organisers have released a short film featuring some of the speakers, including Sylva’s CEO Gabriel Hemery.

Remarking about resilience, and reflecting on the fact that the majority (72%) of woodlands in the UK are owned privately, Gabriel said:

“It’s not really about what we think, as those who work in the environmental sector or for government, it’s actually about those who own and care for our forests.”

 

Zia Mehrabi

Dr Zia Mehrabi, Sylva intern

We are pleased to welcome a new addition to the Sylva team, Dr Zia Mehrabi.

Zia is an ecologist from the University of Oxford working on ways to optimise ecosystem design for both productivity and environmental sustainability. He is working with Sylva as a volunteer intern, funded by the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership internship programme.

During his internship at Sylva, he will be helping to develop a strategy for monitoring the health of UK woodlands using the myForest service. This is an innovative tool that currently helps owners to map and manage their woodlands. Zia will be exploring how myForest could also provide a platform for monitoring how management activity can maintain biodiversity and support resilient woodlands.

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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SYLVA

Charity registered in
England and Wales 1128516
and in Scotland SC041892

Company limited by guarantee 06589157

Copyright © 2009-16 Sylva Foundation. All rights reserved.

 
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