Further outbreak of tree disease at Beinn Ghuilean
Forestry and Land Scotland is getting ready to fell diseased trees at a second site on Beinn Ghuilean (near Campbeltown).
FLS has been served with a Statutory Plant Health Notice that requires that trees affected by the disease Phytophthora ramorum, which primarily affects and kills larch trees, must be felled in a bid to protect other trees from becoming infected.
Felling is due to being in spring 2022 and be completed later in the year.
The announcement follows similar works that took place early in April 2020 when the presence of the disease was first discovered in the area. Phytophthora ramorum has affected a number of sites across southwest Scotland in recent years.
Tommy McGrory, FLS Assistant Delivery Manager, said;
“This is a bit of a body-blow after the efforts that we’ve already put in at Beinn Ghuilean previously.
“This shows just how important it is to act as quickly as we can. There is no remedy or cure for the disease and at the moment the only thing we can do is fell affected trees as soon as we can to try and slow its spread to other sites.
“Slowing its spread also buys time for all the people who are working behind the scenes to find alternative, viable ways of tackling the disease.
“Public safety is always a high priority for us and that means putting access restrictions in place for Beinn Ghuilean Forest. Before operations start) we will begin to prepare this second site and that will mean closing trails and putting safety signage in place.
“The main felling and extraction operations will take place in spring 2022 and the worksite zone will be strictly a no go area and we would urge all visitors to observe and obey the safety signage in the forest.
“We apologise in advance for any inconvenience that this might cause, but we hope that visitors will understand and appreciate the need for the closures.”
The impact of the disease can be devastating for larch and can have a significant impact on the look of forests and of the wider landscape.
Visitors can also help stop the spread of the disease by following FLS’s ‘Keep It Clean’ advice and brushing off forest debris and mud from their boots, walking gear, bike wheels and dogs paws before and after visiting the forest.
The spores that cause the disease can travel from forest to forest on twigs, leaf litter and mud.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.