Tree disease Phytophthora pluvialis confirmed in Wales

Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

A case of the tree disease Phytophthora pluvialis has been confirmed in Wales for the first time.

The fungal-like pathogen known to affect a variety of tree species – including western hemlock, Douglas fir and several pine species – has been discovered on the Welsh Government Woodland Estate in Dyfi Fredt, Gwynedd.

The disease was originally reported in the US (Oregon) in 2013 and in New Zealand in 2014, where it was reported to have caused needle cast – where needles turn brown and fall off – as well as shoot dieback and lesions on the stem, branches and roots.

In September, Phytophthora pluvialis was discovered in a woodland in Cornwall, England, affecting mature western hemlock and Douglas-fir trees. Further outbreaks have been found in Cornwall, Devon, Cumbria, and on one site in the northwest of Scotland.

However, the disease has never been detected in Europe before this year, so research is ongoing to understand if other potentially susceptible species could become impacted.

Commenting, Welsh Climate Change Minister Julie James said:

We will continued to work with partner agencies across the UK to share information, experience and understanding to ensure a joint approach to monitoring and managing the situation.”

People are urged to report sighting via the TreeAlert online portal.

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Five nature-recovery projects spanning 100,000ha launched

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Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

Five nature-recovery projects spanning nearly 100,000ha across the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, Norfolk and Somerset have been announced by the government and Natural England today (Thursday, May 26).

This is the equivalent in size to all 219 current National Reserves.

The aim of the projects is to deliver nature recovery at a landscape scale, helping to tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and improve public health and well-being.

All five projects will make a significant contribution towards the national delivery of the international commitment to protect at least 30% of land and...