Public urged to 'keep it clean' as Rowardennan larch hit by disease

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Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) is urging visitors to Rowardennan Forest (East Loch Lomond) to stick to paths and follow good biosecurity practice outlined in the ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign.

The call comes as the FES team in the area prepares to carry out some felling and clearance work across seven hectares of the forest to combat an outbreak of tree disease, Phytophthora ramorum.

Will Huckerby, for the FES team based in Aberfoyle, said;

Keep it Clean is all about making sure that your boots, wheels, or even your dogs paws are free of mud when you arrive at a new site because the spores that cause this disease can be carried from one site to another in mud or on forest debris.

“Taking the time to ‘Keep it Clean’ and help us prevent the further spread of this disease, which can be fatal to larch trees.

“It’s already at Rowardennan so we need to remove affected trees, and nearby trees that are potentially already infected, to try and prevent the disease spreading – and good biosecurity is all part of that preventative process.

“It’s quite a complicated site – we have to negotiate our way round a powerline, a public road, a water main, the Ben Lomond footpath, and a communications line - so will take a bit of planning.

“We’re hoping to start work mid-January but we really need everyone visiting to start being biosecurity conscious now.”

The work will take place in woodland near the Rowardennan Hotel, and adjacent to the Ben Lomond access path, from which the felling area will be visible.

There will be plenty of advisory signage in place with information on the disease and outlining the ‘keep it Clean’ biosecurity advice about cleaning boots, walking poles and equipment before arriving at the site – and before visiting a different site.

The FES team will also remove any symptomatic rhododendron and blaeberry plants, which carry the disease and act as reservoirs for the infection, producing spores that are easily carried to other sites to infect new, healthy trees.

All infected trees and plants are to be removed before the end of February 2018.

Notes to editors

  1. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of the Forestry Commission and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forest Enterprise Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.