Spread of larch disease is slowing down in Wales, aerial study shows
The assessment follows two spring flights in May over North and South Wales that surveyed woodlands and forests. Around 40 sites were seen to be showing signs of suspected infection and will be further investigated.
The figure is lower than was found following last years’ flight when nearly 30 suspect sites were found on Welsh Government Woodland Estate alone, as well as another 20 sites on private land.
Lajla Cash, Tree Health Planning Officer at Natural Resources Wales, said: “Compared to previous years the spread of P. Ramorum last year was fairly minor. We will be visiting the sites identified in the flights this year over the next few weeks to find out whether P Ramorum is present."
"We expected a significant increase in infection due to the wet and windy weather in late summer and early autumn. But that has not proved to be the case so far," Ms Cash added.
Since March, Natural Resources Wales has been inviting visitors and workers of forests and woodlands to help tackle the spread of P Ramorum and other diseases by pointing out possible hotbeds and respecting simple hygienical rules. The campaign, called #Keepitclean highlights how visitors and workers can safeguard forests and woodlands future by heeding simple advice.
Ms Cash commented: “It’s not just P.Ramorum, there are a number of pests and diseases that threaten Wales’ woodlands. And one of the ways they can infect a healthy forest is by being transferred by the mud and debris on people’s boots, car or bicycle tyres or even on a dog’s paws. We are asking people to take a few minutes before visiting a woodland to clean dirt and mud off boots, tyres, kit and pets. We hope that checking and cleaning before every woodland visit will become a habit.”
A further aerial flight will take place later this summer.
For more information on #Keepitclean campaign click here.