Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is urging visitors to woodlands and nature reserves over the Easter break to ‘Keep it Clean’, to help tackle the spread of tree pests and diseases.
After a long, wet winter, many people are looking to make the most of the longer days this spring by visiting some of Wales’ woodlands and nature reserves to walk or cycle.
While encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors NRW, through its Keep it Clean campaign is asking people to clean their boots and bike tyres to help safeguard Wales’ trees.
There are a number of pests and diseases that threaten Wales’ woodlands. And one of the ways they can infect a healthy forest is by being transferred by the mud and debris on people’s boots, car or bicycle tyres or even on a dog’s paws.
NRW’s Tree Health Planning Officer, Lajla Cash explained:
“Pests and diseases can spread quickly.
"Many of us have seen the devastating effects that diseases like P.ramorum (larch disease) can have on our forests.
“The aim of the Keep it Clean campaign is to encourage people to get in the habit of helping to reduce the spread of diseases which kill our trees.
“Our simple ‘Keep it Clean’ message asks people to take a few minutes before visiting a woodland to clean dirt and mud off boots, tyres, kit and pets.
“We hope that checking and cleaning before every woodland visit will become a habit.”
NRW is encouraging everyone visiting the forests and countryside to be aware of the importance of their role in keeping our forests and trees healthy.
It has also published a list of the top five risks to tree health in Wales, along with tips on how to spot and report pests and diseases.
“Our 550 kilometres of mountain biking trails, five visitor centres and 75 picnic areas are set in woodlands and National Nature Reserves in some of the most stunning parts of the country.
“We hope that by making people aware of the dangers of these diseases, we can safeguard this stunning legacy for future generations.”