Ecology and Pathology of Ash Dieback Disease

7 Chalara fraxinea stem lesion in young treeSummary

The project aims to elucidate the characteristics and behaviour of the ash dieback pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, with particular focus on pathogen sporulation and infection strategy. It will also explore the interaction between ash dieback affected trees with species of root-attacking fungi from the genus Armillaria that are commonly found in woodlands and tree corridors. This knowledge is required for more accurate disease modelling and management.

Research objectives

  • Determine the effects of climate on H. fraxineus sporulation.

  • Investigate the conditions which affect spore viability.

  • Establish the consequences of different H. fraxineus spore densities on host infection.

  • Detect and identify the Armillaria species on trees affected with ash dieback and how this might influence tree survival.

Results so far

This project is in the initial stages with effort concentrated on site selection and pathogen detection.

Status

October 2017 – January 2021

Contact

Matthew Combes

Joan Webber

Funders and partners

This project is undertaken in the form of a post-graduate studentship which is a joint enterprise between Forest Research and the School of Biosciences, Cardiff University. It is funded by Defra, the Woodland Trust and Network Rail which form a steering group for the project

Forestry Commission policy

This project is aligned with other research on ash dieback funded by the Forestry Commission which underpins the evidence base for the delivery of healthy and resilient forests and wider ecosystems (see Tree Health Management Plan)