It's estimated that there are about 80 million Ash Trees in the UK equating to 13% of our Broad leaved woodland. In Denmark Ash Dieback was responsible for the loss of 90% of Ash trees, if that happened here we would lose around 72million trees having a dramatic effect on our woodland and hedgerows.
To date we are not aware of any infected trees in the Scarborough area but we do need to be vigilant.
Unfortunately Ash Dieback isn't the only threat. Phytophtora Ranorum (try saying that after a couple of pints) attacks Larch. The Oak Processinary mothwas discovered in London in 2006 and the Horse Chestnut leaf miner,which attacks the horse chestnut, has been in the UK since 2002.
Acute Oak Decline can kill a tree in as little as 4 years and the Asian longhorn Beetle which originates from China was found recently in Kent, posing a threat to a wide range of broadleaves.
Trees have, and always will, faced threats from disease and over the centuries they have developed immunity against many. But the world is a smaller place and our appetite for more exotic trees means that our 'native' trees do not have the luxury of time to build up defenses against imported diseases.
Tightening up border controls will help but will not keep disease out. Improving woodland ecosystems through good management practices and ensuring diversity in our woodland will not only improve flora and fauna but also help reduce the the impact of disease on our trees when it does come.
Raincliffe Woods has suffered from a lack of basic woodland management for many years, it's now time that good woodland management was reintroduced in Raincliffe Woods but without compromising the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.