Ash Diebackis scientifically known as Hymenoscyphus Fraxineus (formerly known as Chalarafraxinea). It was first discovered in Ireland in October 2012. The disease wasInitially identified in County Leitrim and County Tipperary. It is believedthat the disease was introduced to Europe through the importation of infectedash tree or wood products. Once in Europe it spread quickly affecting allcountries. The first confirmed case in Europe was Poland in the early 1990s andit gradually spread to other European countries and eventually arrived inIreland. Ash dieback can spread via airborne spores making it highly contagiousand hard ton control.
There isroughly 17,000 hectares of ash in Ireland which was all infected by ashdieback. Since then, it has spread all over the country and is a major problemwhich has affected all ash plantations and ash trees in hedgerows all over thecountry.
The ashdieback has significance importance in Ireland due to invaluable resourcescontributing to the production of timber, furniture making and hurley buttswhich are used for hurls. Ash trees also have a vital role in the environmentfor local wildlife and is now impacting our ecosystem.
Signs of ashdieback are easy to spot during the summer months when the trees should be infull leaf. Ash trees infected will have a lack of leaves in summer months, keysigns of dieback are spots on the leaves with dark or brown spots on theleaves. The leaves will start to wilt. The crown of the tree will become verybear with some branches without any leaves. During the summer months ashdieback can cause spots on the trees/ branches causing the tree to shed leavesearly in the year. Dark patches on the trees are called lesions they can appearon the bark of the tree or at the base of the tree. It can be seen in the trunkof the tree when its being harvested, there will be a small black distinctivespot inside the tree. Branches on the tree become very brittle and dangerous.During storms branches or even trees can be blown over which makes it verydangerous.
In responseto the ash dieback crisis the government has launched the Ash DiebackReconstitution Scheme. The scheme was introduced to provide support forlandowners affected by ash dieback disease, in particular landowners withcommercial forest of ash. Key components of the ash dieback disease schemeinclude financial assistance, species replacement and diversification.
To enter theash reconstitution, scheme a landowner must contact their local forester tosubmit an application. The Forster will conduct a site visit and then submitthe application to the department.
Financialsupport: Under the scheme, affected landowners can get financial support perhectare to remove all ash trees on site, also grants are in place for thereplanting of the same area with other broadleaves or Sitka spruce. Replantingof ash is not aloud. This support is critical in ensuring the economicsustainability of affected forests.
Speciesreplacement: All species of trees are acceptable, new species planted willenhance ecological diversity in the site and reduce risk of future disease andoutbreaks.
The timberfrom ash plots will be used for firewood or hurley butts. Ash makes greatfirewood. The landowner owns all the timber and its their decision whether tosell the timber or keep it for themselves.
Diversificationand future planning, the ash dieback scheme encourages landowners to diversifymore than using just commercial trees like spruce, with a mix of tree species,by having this approach It will help fight new diseases but also improve thelong-term health and biodiversity or Irish woodlands which is very important.
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