Research Teams and Scientists Working to Stem Ash Dieback Fungus

Diamond shaped lesions characteristic of Ash Dieback Disease, caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea. Image courtesy of The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), Crown Copyright.

Researchers are working towards developing a cost effective solution to controlling  Ash Dieback fungal disease, a major threat to 80 million ash trees in the UK. As part of the plan to tackle Ash Dieback and other invasive pests and diseases, the government has formulated a team of ten internationally recognised experts in plant health, forestry and wider related disciplines as part of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Taskforce. The taskforce includes three entomologists, Professor Charles Godfray from Oxford University, Professor Simon Leather from Harper Adams University College and Professor John Mumford from Imperial College as well as a number of social and environmental scientists.

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It’s a Dog’s Life- The Rescue Dogs Being Trained To Detect The Emerald Ash Borer

Ash tree Fraxinus pennsylvanica killed by the Emerald Ash Borer Agrilus planipennis © Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service (CC-BY-3.0-US license, via Wikimedia Commons)

While most dogs spend their days running around and playing with toys, 5 dogs from a Montana based organisation Working Dogs for Conservation are hard at work aiding scientific research and conservation by combatting the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle Agrilus planipennis, one of the most destructive non-native insect pests in the USA. The Emerald Ash Borer was accidentally introduced into the USA and Canada in the 1990’s and has since spread to 14 states with devastating consequences for ash trees. It has been estimated that the Emerald Ash Borer infestation will likely eventually encompass 25 states with estimated treatment, tree removal and replacement costs of $10.7 billion. The biggest risk of spreading the invasive ash borer is by the movement and trade of ash products, timber and firewood infested with larvae which are concealed within the wood and notoriously hard to detect.  Continue reading