People involved in shooting sports should be on the look-out for signs of ash trees infected with ash dieback disease, according to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). On sites where infection has been confirmed or is suspected, people should take precautions to avoid the possibility of spreading the fungus spores which cause the disease.
Ash dieback disease has been reported from different sites across the country. The disease is mainly spread on the wind. Once infected by the Chalara fraxinea fungus a tree cannot be cured and must be destroyed and removed from the woodland.
Forestry Commission advice says that spores are produced from infected dead leaves between June and September. Spores are unlikely to survive for more than a few days and trees need a high dose of spores to become infected. The Commission also states that there is a low probability of dispersal of the spores on clothing, animals or birds.
Tim Russell, BASC director of conservation said “Everyone involved in shooting should look out for the signs of infected trees such as lesions and cankers on the bark and, in the spring, die back of foliage. The risk of woodland users spreading the disease is said to be small. BASC is asking people involved in shooting on sites where infection has been confirmed or is suspected to take precautions against the possibility of spreading spores between different areas of woodland. This could include washing boots and vehicle wheels. Any signs of the disease should be reported to the Forestry Commission or the Food and Environment Research Agency.”
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More information is available on the Key Issues section of the BASC website