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Tree Health Action Plans launched


Forestry Commission Scotland has published three tree health action plans detailing specific and focused approaches to tackling three key tree diseases in Scotland.
The plans – for Chalara dieback of ash, Dothistroma Needle Blight on pines, and Ramorum on larch – are based on the best scientific advice and expert opinion available and have been published following detailed consideration and input by the Scottish Tree Health Advisory Group (on which Scottish Land & Estates sits).
Key elements of the Action plans include:
Chalara dieback of ash – identifying ash trees with resistance to the disease; wider awareness raising; delaying the arrival and spread of the disease in the remoter north and west of Scotland; and continuing to develop management guidance as our scientific knowledge of this diseases develops.
  • Ramorum on larch – increasing aerial surveillance capacity; rapid identification of new areas of infection and prompt action to reduce the rate of spread; continued awareness-raising; embedding proportionate biosecurity measures; and addressing capacity issues in the timber supply chain.    
  • Dothistroma needle blight – continued awareness-raising; developing management advice on the choice of alternative tree species/origins and silvicultural measures such as thinning and tree spacing; evaluating the potential impacts and effectiveness of fungicide treatments; instigating formal disease surveys in Caledonian pinewoods and develop specific management advice on the precautionary measures that can be taken to protect such woodlands; and continuing to work with the nursery sector to increase their resilience to the disease. 
A key message is that the countryside remains open and there is no threat to human or animal health from any of these diseases. However, visitors to woodland are encouraged to help prevent spreading  tree diseases by taking some very simple actions such as removing any mud, plant material or leaves from clothing, boots, dogs, tyres and wheels of bicycles/buggies and by not removing sticks, twigs or leaves from the forest.
The Scottish Government is continuing to work closely with the UK Government on tree and plant health issues, including pressing for better controls on the international trade in plants across Europe.

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