Tree Pathology in a Changing World

Critical Essay: Silviculture in a changing world–a case study:

Impacts of tree pathology on silviculture in the UK and Ireland

  1. Introduction

Epidemics of tree diseases such as Dutch Elm Disease (DED) in the UK (Lamb 1979) and Chestnut blight in the US may represent the most profound and sudden cases of irreversible environmental change in recent times (Potter et al 2011). Since 2012 the public’s awareness has been drawn to the threat to one of Britain’s principle landscape trees, the ash tree, from Chalara fraxinea (Rackham 2012).

Trees in the landscape provide valuable ecosystem services including erosion control and greater infiltration rates for floodwater, which are lost or impaired due to disease or mortality (Broadmeadow and Nisbet 2010). Disease can also have significant economic impacts for forestry and timber production. Beyond economic issues, loss of trees on such a scale carries great cultural implications. This essay will consider the need for silviculture to adapt to new challenges from current and novel diseases. Continue reading “Tree Pathology in a Changing World”