Felling of about 11,000 infected Japanese larch trees at U.K. Forestry Commissions' Cardinham Woods will begin in November to combat ramorum disease

EDINBURGH, Scotland , November 17, 2011 (press release) – Tree felling will start this month at the Forestry Commission’s Cardinham Woods, near Bodmin, as part of the continuing effort to bring the virulent ramorum disease of larch trees under control.

Acting on the best scientific advice, about 11,000 infected Japanese larch trees are being felled to try to prevent the disease spreading from the foliage of the larch trees to other larch trees as well as other plant species.

During December felling will also start at Dunmere Wood and East Wood, which also have infected Japanese Larch trees.

The disease, caused by the fungus-like pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, was discovered infecting Japanese larch trees for the first time anywhere in the world in South West England in autumn 2009. As well as being killed by the disease, larch trees also produce very high quantities of the infective spores that spread it. Since then the Forestry Commission has been surveying woodlands in South West England and elsewhere to identify and treat infected sites, and has been working closely with local landowners who have infected trees on their land.

John Ebsary, area forester for Cornwall, says:

“We have already felled infected larch trees in and around the Glyn Valley near Bodmin and at Idless Woods near Truro, and we now have to carry this work out in Cardinham, Dunmere and East Woods. It is disappointing having to fell trees before they reach full maturity, but the trees are dying from this highly destructive disease, and we have to try to contain it and prevent any further spread.

“The work will mean some areas of Cardinham are closed to the public for short periods for safety reasons, but we will try to keep disruption to an absolute minimum. Visitors to the forest can help minimise the spread of the disease by following simple biosecurity instructions on signs around the area. These include washing footwear before leaving the forest.

“Users of the Camel Trail could also be affected by the felling at East Wood, but again we are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum, and ask that people pay close attention to signage in the area.

“Meanwhile, we want to thank all those woodland owners who have helped us to tackle this disease over the past two years and to the visitors to our forests for their patience while the work is carried out. We also want to urge everyone who owns or works with trees to be always on the lookout for signs of disease, and to report them to us. Constant vigilance and removing the infective material quickly are going to be key to getting on top of this problem.”

The current round of felling will be completed by 31 March 2012. For further local information contact the Forestry Commission’s Bodmin office on 01208 72577. Further information about the disease is available from www.forestry.gov.uk/pramorum .

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