Aboyne based timber marketing co-operative DWP Harvesting called a meeting at their offices in Deeside Activity Par to access how much of a threat their members’ timber resources are under from invasions, following the outbreak of the fungal disease threatening all UK ash trees. Chalara fungal disease, first identified in 2006,is one of the pests and diseases that are increasingly being reported as threatening Scotland’s forests. Dr Stephen Woodward of the School of Biological Sciences at Aberdeen University and Joachim Boehm of Forestry Commission highlighted that this was something that could not and should not be ignored.
Dr Woodward told members at the meeeting that climate change and the ever increasing international movement of trade and people is making it ever harder for trees to combat infection and for the infections themselves to spread ever more easily.
Joachim Boehm said: “The Forestry Commission here in the North-east of Scotland is very concerned about the problem of pests and diseases damaging the National Forest Estate timber. Consequently Moray and Aberdeenshire Forest District plans to use approximately 30% of its harvesting operation capacity for the next few years to target infected stands and to minimize the spread of already established pests and disease.”
With Dothistroma Needle Blight (DNB) now seen locally as causing yellowing of needles on spruce and pine, DWP Members said a good deal more attention was needed right away.
DWP Director Andrew Nicol, said: “Whilst taking reasonable steps to combat the threat of pests and diseases is required for both a felling licence and for certification to certain quality standards, it is expected this aspect of forestry is something that is going to have to be given far greater priority both now and in the future.”
DWP Harvesting advised forest owners that help is at hand from the Forestry Commission’s Forest Research Tree Health Diagnostic and Advisory Service.
General advice is free and a small charge is made for disease diagnosis.
Where an owner’s timber resources appear to be infected, the first call should be Steve Penny, Research Liaison Officer for Scotland, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 0131 445 6989, Mob. 07808 900331.