Ash has long been a valued tree in the UK’s forest, it produces the best burning wood and is the 4th most populous tree in the country. But this is all under threat from a disease which has ravaged the ash populations of countries like denmark and threatens he biggest change to the UK landscape since Dutch elm disease arrived on our shores in the 1960’s and was responsible for the loss of 25 million trees.
The fungal infection chalara fraxinea ( Ash die back ) kills 90% of the trees it infects. Questions will be asked about why a ban was not imposed earlier, when the dangers were so evident, but the University of East Anglia has launched the most innovative tool yet in the combat of spread of the fungal infection.
Ashtag.org is a website and smart phone application that encourages the croudsourcing of information from the public to help spot the disease. The iPhone Applications allows you to take a quick photo, enter your email address, it will automatically detect your location and upload the image in question. These images are then collated and reviewed by experts.
This use of technology and people power is a great step forward in the battle against ash ‘die back’. Visit ashtag.org for more details.