Public urged to help slow the spread of tree diseases

p.ram in woodland 

Forest Enterprise Scotland’s Cowal & Trossachs team is calling on all woodland visitors to ‘Keep it Clean’ to help prevent the spread of tree diseases and protect Scotland’s forests.

The call for more biosecurity awareness comes as Phytophthora ramorum, a fungus like pathogen that is particularly damaging to larch trees, has been confirmed at several new locations in Cowal and Trossachs Forest District.

All of the new sites are close to existing infected sites.

Fraser McDonald, a Forester with the FES team in the Cowal area said;

“Everyone has a part to play in helping prevent the spread of tree diseases and it’s simply a matter of making sure that you arrive at a forest with clean boots, bike wheels – and even dog’s paws.

“Our Keep it Clean campaign promotes good biosecurity practice and explains that it only takes a few minutes to brush off any mud or forest debris from boots, walking poles or bike tyres.

“It may not seem much but tree diseases can be carried from site to site in mud or on twigs leaves and others forest debris, so those few minutes can make a big difference.

“Woodlands and forests are fantastic places to go for a few hours of relaxing peace and quiet but they are also valuable economic resources that are worth almost £1 billion a year to Scotland’s economy.

“It’s important that everyone does there bit to look after Scotland’s forests and help to prevent the spread of tree diseases.”

Forest Enterprise Scotland has been served with plant heath notices requiring that action is taken to clear infected larch from the sites.

The sites, and approximate areas to be cleared, are:

  • Craigbrack Dam - on the north eastern shore of Loch Eck - 1ha of woodland to be felled. The material will be left onsite because of the lack of a suitable access road, the rough and steep terrain and the presence of overhead power lines.
  • Barnacabber – approximately 2km north of Ardentinny on west side of Glen Finart – 3ha of larch in mixture with other species that may also have to be felled. All the material will be left on site due to there being no forest road access, the steepness of the site and the proximity of the location to private water supplies.
  • Dun Daraich - approximately 2km north of Ardentinny on east side of Glen Finart - around 1ha of woodland felled as part of a larger felling area totalling 6ha.
  • White Bay - about 0.5km north of Ardentiny on the shore of Loch Long –8ha will be cleared and removed as part of a larger felling area totalling 19ha
  • Toll a’ Bhuic – about 5km north of Ardentinny on the shores of Loch Long opposite Coulport - approximately 2ha to be felled and left on site due to lack of suitable forest road for extraction.
  • Kilmun – 0.3 ha of larch just outside Kilmun arboretum, to be felled and left on site due to the distance this area of larch is from any forest road.
  • Meall nan Saighdear - at the top of Leny Woods, 3km west of Callander – 4ha of larch to be felled, most to be extracted although some may be left on site due to steep and difficult terrain and lack of good access.

One hectare is equivalent in size to the rugby pitch in Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh.

Work is likely to start within the next few weeks and is expected to be completed by the end of March 2017 and is likely to require traffic management at some sites to keep road users safe. Further details will be published in due course.

More information about biosecurity and tree diseases in Scotland is available online.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. 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.
  4. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.