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The Major Diseases

Today, it is not an understatement to say that the survival of Britain’s natural environment is at a crossroads.

The nature and extent of the virulent non-native tree diseases now present in the UK promises a grim future for our countryside and urban trees.  The number of diseases has grown alarmingly in the last ten years and local outbreaks have now become national epidemics.

In the 1970s, Dutch Elm Disease (DED) devastated the British countryside – and did similar damage across Europe.  DED killed over twenty-five million elm trees in the UK and now, forty years later, the elm trees haven’t come back, despite efforts to breed ‘disease-resistant strains’.  Today, virtually all our deciduous tree species face similar threats from a barrage of non-native fungal and bacterial pathogens.