The spread of Phytophthora ramorum in South West Scotland in particular represents one of the biggest current challenges for the forestry sector as a whole and this week has seen FCS release its latest map detailing the geography of the outbreak.
The new map can be found here: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forestry.nsf/byunique/infd-9bglrr
The Forestry Commission gives this issue the highest priority and John Dougan, Conservator for South Scotland, has moved to lead a coordinated response. A P. ramorum Working Group including representatives from a wide cross-section of the forestry industry and woodland owners has been created to help keep the industry informed.
Harvesters and processors have been working with Forestry Commission Scotland since August to fell infected and dead trees, both in a bid to slow its spread further east and north and to salvage as much marketable timber as possible.
John Dougan, The Commission’s South Scotland Conservator is co-ordinating the industry-wide response to the disease. He said:
“This is going to be a long, demanding and challenging job but we are working flat-out on responding to this and working closely with our existing customer base we have secured the necessary resource to have fifteen operational harvesting teams working on larch across Galloway.
“So far they have cleared around 700ha of larch - that’s about 700 international rugby pitches - which is a 300% increase on pre-disease levels. The focus has been on the eastern and northern parts of the District – the two fronts if you like – where essentially we’ve been trying to widen the gap between diseased trees and healthy trees, making it more difficult for the disease to spread.”
The best source of information is the Forestry Commission Scotland website, as follows:
- General overview of Phytophthora Ramorum in Scotland: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pramorum
- Advice and Information on Phytophthora Ramorum: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forestry.nsf/byunique/infd-9bgm8s
- P Ramorum Grant Support: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forestry.nsf/byunique/infd-8rqm6j