Date lodged: 12 March 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what the extent of Ash dieback is in Scotland and what action it is taking to tackle this.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 21 March 2019
Scotland’s Forestry Strategy places a high priority on understanding and mitigating the threats to Scotland’s forests and woodlands.
The physical impacts of the disease on ash populations are generally not yet as advanced in Scotland as in England and Wales. However, since its first detection in 2012, Ash dieback disease has become wide spread in Scotland, including in areas where there was some initial hope that the disease could be contained through statutory actions requiring the removal of diseased trees. Scottish Ministers therefore took a strategic decision in 2015, supported by the Scottish Tree Health Advisory Group, to focus on adaptive actions such as seed banking, assessments of susceptibility, and management advice to secure the long-term future of ash trees in Scotland.
As some ash trees appear to be able to tolerate or resist infection, our priority for securing the long-term future of Scotland’s ash trees is in the identification of the genetic factors in resistant samples, and using these to breed new generations of tolerant ash trees for the future. This work is part of a UK and Europe wide approach.