Friday, 9 November 2012

Ash Die Back.

Ash Dieback has been in Europe since before 2002. Most tree people knew and that it would spread too; fungal diseases do that. They expected though, that European governments would treat such an environmental threat with urgency. The reverse happened and so the disease has spread. Recently the UK authorities have held a series of crises meetings and belatedly promised to do all possible to halt or slow it. Tony Kirkham, of Kew Gardens, has said that a complete ban was needed on imports of any plants that threatened a species, and a one-year quarantine was needed for all plants coming into Britain. Prof Clive Brasier, a UK plant pathologist specializing in tree diseases says the problem is “trade at any cost” and pointing to the dramatic increase in damaging plant pathogen, he said that the UK is now in danger of losing much of its historic tree and forest heritage because “the European plant security “door” is quite simply off its hinges”.
EU leaders though have remained as quite as mice about it all.
Despite what is happening borders remain open, free trade and free movement continues and the future of our ecology is imperiled as never before.
Imagine if the UK does manage to hold Charala Fraxenia at bay but are then faced with its spread from Southern Ireland, how do we answer that? In reality we are recklessly endangering our land and in the borderless world we live in, the lands of others too. The misnamed Reps scheme is a good example; it is a scheme in which our government pays farmers to mow their hedges down. They are doing this even now, despite the disease, and this is leaving row after row of broken mangled stumps where our old hedges used to be. Ash is a common plant in our hedgerows and Charala fraxenia has been found in Ireland, but in these flailed and mangled hedges it cannot be seen or noticed. The open wounds make ideal entry points for fungal spores and if a flail goes through one infected plant then it can spread the disease as it goes along. Under these conditions the spread becomes inevitable. Our government has also decided to import Ash timber regardless.
Ash were the Bile trees of antiquity, they fill our myths, they were held sacred once and the Fir Bile was an old name given to us. They make up about a third of our trees. Their loss will cause environmental damage on a scale never before see. It will affect habitat, bird populations, water retention and the look and feel of our land for decades to come. Defoliation causes climate change and will even affect our ability to breathe, yet in comparison to England we are almost silent about it, we remain ignorant and almost indifferent to the growing list of destructive pathogens coming into Europe, and into our land too; eventually. The model we follow is wrong and we have to change!
All hedge cutting must stop, all trade and movement must be controlled and our environment must be placed in the position of priority it deserves. Essentially we have to place the health and future of our land above the EU’s, mad open bordered dogma!
It is wrong to behave as though we do not need nature, it is wrong to hand our children a nightmare, it is wrong to allow the profits of a few to endanger all. Our politician have been informed about this, they all know; but they do little or nothing!
For decades Irish people have been kept in the dark about the dangers of environmental destruction, most have chosen ignorance and have elected politicians who promoted ignorance; and now these dangers, so long warned about and ignored, are here.
Please copy this, email it and post it on.

Photos: Ill Ash Trees In County Meath. October. 2012.

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