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Hopes for ash tree disease cure dashed

Danish forestry experts disappointed as last remaining refuge of healthy trees, in Britain, succumbs

All hopes entertained of keeping the ash tree disease from Britain, are now lost, say scientists at the University of Copenhagen, cited on This is after the feared disease that already killed off Danish and northern European trees in recent years has jumped the English channel.

Ash trees are common in Britain, as well as in Denmark, especially in rural areas and small towns. They are known for the large number of insects and plants depending on them, which increases their value for the environment.

»We had hoped that the disease wouldn’t cross the Channel,« says Iben Thomsen, a scientist working at the Department of Forestry and Landscape, University of Copenhagen.

Marking the living trees

As reported on, forests like Gribskov in Denmark have been ravaged by dieback, a disease caused by fungus deposited on dead leaves.

The disease has an impact on the fauna and flora associated with the ash trees, says Iben Thomsen.

According to biologist Ditte Olrik from the Danish Nature Agency, cited by, a small number of trees (around 120) might be immune to the fungus. Scientists at the University of Copenhagen hope to find an even larger number, and are marking them with an S15 (S from ‘Sund’, which means healthy in Danish).

Hardly any left

Anders Grube, owner of 10,600 acres of forest, declared to the British newspaper: »[…] out of about 30,000 trees in my forest I don’t think there is one resistant tree. That’s how rare they are.«

See a University Post gallery of Danish research into ash tree death in Gribskov forest here.

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