Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ash Tree Disease Spells Bad News For British Wildlife

The news that ash tree dieback disease has reached the Yorkshire Wolds is very, very worrying, not least because of the effect that the possible devastation of our native ash stock will have on wildlife here. 
There are an estimated 80 million ash trees in the UK and ash woodland is a distinctive feature of the Yorkshire Wolds.

This is the view from my studio window: a tapestry of fields and hedgerows, interspersed with pockets of ash woodland. It is a very typical Wolds scene. But how will it look in 20 years time?
In Denmark, where the disease has already taken hold, 90% of ash trees have either died or are dying.
Ash trees make up one third of Britain's trees. Their hollow trunks are used by little owls, barn owls and tawny owls. Woodpeckers too, both green and spotted, like to raise their broods in ash hollows and tree creepers nest under the peeling bark of old ash trees. Robins, redstarts and plenty more also thrive in ash woodland.

I photographed these little owl chicks in an old ash tree near my studio in Thixendale.
I really hope that we can do something to prevent the spread of this disease. I shall be writing about my concerns in next week's Ryedale Gazette & Herald. Make sure you pick up a copy on Wednesday, December 26th.

2 comments:

  1. Very worrying news indeed :( As you say the Yorkshire Wolds landscape would not be the same without these beautiful trees and hopefully something can be done to prevent British Ash trees suffering the same fate as those on the near continent.

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  2. Ash die back is finding its way around the country pretty quickly, just as that little pest emerald ash borer. There are solutions to these problems, we just need to unify for them.

    -Samudaworth Tree Service
    Tree Pruning Brooklyn

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