This presentation was prepared for the Living Ash Project Chalara Ash Dieback Workshop at Lawshall, Suffolk on 18 June 2014.
The talk aims to provide an overview of the silviculture and management of ash woodlands in Britain, where Chalara ash dieback is currently a major threat. The lecture starts with an overview of the key drivers in forestry at the present time, including the need to adapt and enhance the ecological resilience of woodlands in the face of many threats (climate change, pests, diseases). A major theme is the need to diversify the range of genotypes, species and structures of woodlands so that the risk of major damage is minimised. A large number of silvicultural practices are reviewed, and several, including planting alternative species and continuous cover forestry, are presented in more detail.
With respect to ash, a number of silvicultural and management measures have been introduced to slow the rate of infection, minimise environmental impacts and realise the value of ash timber. Practical guidance is provided, based on information from the Forestry Commission and Royal Forestry Society. In addition, there is greater need for monitoring forest conditions so that infected trees can be located as quickly as possible.
Finally, the presentation highlights the role of research and the need to identify ash trees that demonstrate a degree of tolerance or resistance to infection. These trees are an important priority for the Living Ash Project and for future ash tree breeding programmes.
The presentation includes many photographs taken in the field and supplied with acknowledgement by colleagues.
Further information on the Living Ash Project is available at www.livingashproject.org.uk. Also at the Future Trees Trust, www.futuretrees.org. General information about the biology and management of Chalara ash dieback is available from the Forestry Commission, www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara.