Keeping our woodlands and forests healthy

Keeping our woodlands and forests healthy

PUBLISHED: 30 MAR 2016

AUTHOR: Andrew Wright

TAGS: #TreeHealth, #Biosecurity, #Diseases, #Pests, #Woodland, #Forestry, #Keepitclean

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has a Tree Health Team dedicated to stop and deal with infection and infestation, here Andrew Wright, explains his team's work spearheading the "Keep it Clean" campaign.

Man checking a treeThe effectiveness of managing tree pests and diseases depends on rapid detection, accurate assessment of what risks are out there and taking prompt, suitable action.

It is crucial that people are vigilant, know what symptoms to look for and know where to go to for advice.
Our work focuses on:

  • Knowing what to look for
  • Having a surveillance system in place and carrying out regular monitoring
  • Knowing who to go to for advice
  • A formal process for assessing risk
  • Having plans in place for dealing with pest or disease outbreaks
  • Legislative role in issuing Statutory Plant Health Notices

As tree pests and diseases have no respect for country borders, it’s important that we work closely with local staff as well as UK experts such as Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Forestry Commission England and Scotland and Forest Research (FR).

This will ensure that prompt action can be put in place when necessary.

Monitoring

The best way of dealing with a pest or disease is to prevent it establishing in the first place.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is to have a system for monitoring tree health and being able to identify and deal with problems before they spread and become major issues.

It is crucial that people are vigilant in their daily work or leisure, know what symptoms to look for and know where to go to for advice.

At the moment we are tracking the spread of a disease affecting Larch trees by conducting helicopter surveys of public and private forests across Wales.

Aerial surveys are the best way to spot potential new areas of infection as the larch trees bud or flush during the spring.

It is the first part of the process to identify new areas of infection.

These will be followed by further surveying and sampling work on the ground to confirm the presence of the disease.Aerial view of trees infected with P. Ramorum
We run awareness raising and training events throughout the year, internally and for outside bodies, to increase the probability of professionals and volunteers being able to recognise the signs of ill-health in trees and then knowing who to go to for more advice.

We are available to advise on all aspects of tree diseases and disorders, including identifying the nature of the problem, its consequences and the need for any action.

What can you do to help?

Learn about pest and diseases.

Keep to the woodland paths, keep dogs on leads, clean your footwear and clothing of all soil, needles and plant debris at the end of your visit.

We are available for advice on all aspects of tree diseases and disorders, including identifying the nature of the problem, its consequences and the need for any action.

For more information, advice or enquiries on what measures you can take to manage the spread of diseases, visit our Tree Health and Biosecurity pages or email treehealth@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk for enquiries about trees, forests and woodlands in Wales

 
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