As Chalara Dieback Threatens UK Ash Forests We Explain the Next Steps and What You Can Do to Help

Since the import ban on Ash trees we’ve all been hearing about the potential threat that the Chalara fraxinea fungus poses.

Initial reports suggest that if the fungus were to become established, then ash dieback could follow a similar path that the prolific Dutch Elm disease took back in the 1970s. The impact on the English Elm was massive in Holland, and the majority of the countries mature English elm trees died within ten years and are still not yet fully recovered.
Chalara dieback – also known as ash dieback has already wiped out 90% of the ash tree population in Denmark.
Labour attacked the government, accusing them of being “asleep on the job”. Accusations suggest that the government didnt act quick enough to tackle the spread of infection.

Imports were only sanctioned on Monday, however typically during the Summer imports of Ash are almost non-existent, so any further influx of the disease would not have been likely to occur over the Summer months.
Firsty sightings of the disease in the UK were in February 2012, and since then over 100,000 Ash trees were destroyed to stem the spread of disease. Assessments were executed at over 1,000 sites where ash plants from Europe had been put into place within the last five years.

Before this temporary ban, there was only a voluntary moratorium on imports.
The Shadow secretary suggested that the government was guilty of “dithering” over the Summer and attributed these failings to the recent budget cuts limiting the amount of pro-active research. Suggestions were that the Forestry Commissions budget had been cut by 25% and the funding for research had also been reduced, by 30%!
The environment minister, David Heath, denied these claims and issued a statement saying that there had been no cut backs to resources applied to plant and tree health in the UK.

Benches know that its key to support the FSC, and as one of the largest retailers of garden benches and garden furniture in the UK, know they must be responsible in where they source their materials from. This latest Chalara epidemic shows clearly the importance of the FSC and the importantance of our long-standing commitment to only use the highest quality, responsibly sourced hardwood.

If the WWF and Greenpeace hold the FSC in such revere, then Benches are confident that by adhering to the “Gold” standard in this area, that customers can be happy and buy in confidence knowing that their purchase had either a positive, or no effect on the life of the forest.

By being FSC certified, it means that the wood Benches use comes from forests where the forestry company meets high environmental standards, treats their workers fairly and invests in making sure the forest is there for generations to come.

Every year a huge area equal to half the size of the UK is cleared of natural forests, on all continents spanning the globe. These woodland areas are irreplaceable and the perceived impact of their loss has many social, economic and environmental knock on effects which devastate entire populations. Forests support 1.6 billion of the poorest people in the world, including 60 million indigenous tribes. The effects are limited to people, as of course specifies of plants and animals rely entirely on the forests for their survival.

Even without disease threatening our forests, deforestation continues and is a major contributor to rising CO2 emissions, as forests battle to regulate climate change. The effects of this deforestation can be seen around in the world, with weather extremes and unseasonal temperatures becoming a regular problem. This places the forestry commission into a tough spot, where they must allocate appropriate resources to proactively manage both threats from the worlds thirst for timber, and against natural threats such as the Chalara fungus outbreak.

In Benches FSC Range only timber sourced from FSC certified forests is used. This should give confidence to customers that experts have tested the wood for other diseases and that of course it is only responsibly sourced wood used in their Bench, which had a neutral or positive effect on the world’s forests.

The fantastic range of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified benches are made using top quality Pine and Mahogany so you can be sure these products have no restrictions on them after the temporary ban was put into place. Build quality is second to none, so customers can be assured that their Bench will last a lifetime.
Traditional and stylish, the wooden benches offered on the companies website make popular gifts and great additions to any garden.

The next steps being taken by the Government:
Prevention – border checks are already in place to ensure more occurrences of the disease are not imported into the UK via the plant/tree trade.
Eradication – when an outbreak is confirmed in the wild, steps are taken to kill it by felling infected trees and removing the timber from the area and containing it within a secure area. This is currently where we are at with the disease in East Anglia where massive ash tree felling is underway.

If the outbreak were to spread uncontrollably with multiple hotspots in different regions, it’s likely we will see a widescale attempt to remove the pathogen from the UK by felling trees and isolating the ash population.
A mobile app has been created – called Ashtag which enables the user to upload pictures and report possible infections, which are fed directly to the Forestry Commission to act upon.

Please read the infosheet, produced by the FSC, which identifies possible signs of infection, and report any suspected cases using the Ashtag app. Benches are sure that with better awareness the UKs Ash population stands a fighting chance.

A bespoke laser engraving service is also available with almost all Benches & accessories, including our FSC range. This allows great personalisation for businesses and individuals alike, offering text or images to be inscribed forever using skilled professionals who look after the service from start to end.

Opting to include laser engraving on your bench is easily selected on the companies website. Fonts can be altered and images can be uploaded for use (such as a family coat of arms or business logo).
For more information on the signs of Chalara Fraxinea go to the FSC Chalara information page. Read more on rattan sun lounger.

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