The starting point in the case for intervention is a statement taken from the Forest Research website in March 2012:
“Deciduous trees worldwide are under threat from virulent bacterial and fungal diseases which, unchecked, will dramatically alter our landscapes and cause massive and costly environmental and commercial damage”
The key word is, of course, ‘unchecked’. We see intervention to save as many trees as possible as an option many tree owners will agree with.
These ‘virulent bacterial and fungal diseases’ are mainly non-native diseases. They are not part of our natural ecology or any natural cycle and, like Japanese knotweed, signal crayfish and grey squirrels, they target and eliminate indigenous species but, what is worse in the case of trees, it is not a ‘like-for-like’ invasion as there will be no trees to replace the losses. The attack is purely destructive and recovery will take decades, if ever, as only the elimination or, at the very least, control of these pathogens, will make recovery possible.
A different approach is necessary. No pathogen is ultimately treatment resistant. We battle and overcome thousands of micro-organisms which threaten our health, our livestock and our crops. The pathogens attacking our trees are no different – we just have to find the right way to deal with them and our development work shows the way forward.