Lifestyle & Belief

Ash dieback fungus kills 100,000 trees in Britain


Visitors walk through Batsford Arboretum in the Cotswolds near Moreton-In-Marsh, England. The British countryside is being threatened by the deadly ash dieback fungus.


Dan Istitene

Ash dieback disease, a deadly fungus that kills ash trees, has already caused the destruction of 100,000 trees as it continues to ravage the British countryside. 

Also called by its scientific name Chalara fraxinea, the fungus has also wiped out 90 percent of Denmark's ash trees and caused Britain to institute a ban on imports of the ash species, BBC News reported

Dieback was first discovered in the UK in February 2012, but has since spread to the countryside, fueling worries that the disease has spread to mature trees. 

"Ecologically it is going to change the countryside very significantly," said Professor Ian Boyd, chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the head of the task force on ash dieback assembled by the UK government. "Parallels have been made with Dutch elm disease of the 1970s. This is not good news for the countryside," the Guardian reported

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Britain's Forestry Commission has ordered its tree health experts to inspect 2,300 ash tree sites around the country, and has redirected its staff's usual duties to have them on the lookout for signs of the disease, the Telegraph reported

According to Channel 4, blackened leaves are the most obvious sign a tree has been infected, and the government's task force has said felling and burning them is the most surefire way to keep ash dieback from spreading. 

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