Ash dieback in the UK

a review of the ecological and conservation implications.

R. J. Mitchell, J.K. Beaton, P.E. Bellamy, A. Broome, J. Checuti, S. Eaton, C. J. Ellis, A. Gimona, R. Harmer, A. J. Hester, R. L. Hewison, N. G. Hodgetts, G. R. Iason, G. Kerr, N. A. Littlewood, S. Newey, J. M. Potts, G. Pozsgai, D. Ray, D. A. Sim & 3 others J. A. Stockan, A. F. S. Taylor, S. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The death of native trees caused by non-native pathogens is a global problem. An assessment of the potential ecological and conservation impacts of any tree disease should identify: (1) ecosystem functions associated with the tree species; (2) which species use the tree and how; (3) the suitability of alternative tree species to replace the threatened tree species; and (4) potential management options to mitigate or reduce the impact of the disease.

We assess the potential ecological impact of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus (ash dieback) on Fraxinus excelsior in the UK. 953 species were identified as associated with F. excelsior trees: 12 birds, 28 mammals, 58 bryophytes, 68 fungi, 239 invertebrates, 548 lichens. Forty-four ‘obligate’ species were identified: 11 fungi, 29 invertebrates and 4 lichens; and 62 ‘highly associated’ species.

Off-setting the loss of ash with ‘alternative tree species’ may be one ‘solution’ to the biodiversity threat. No single alternative tree species can act as host for all ash-associated species but Quercus robur/petraea can host 69%. In an assessment of ecosystem function, when compared to other European deciduous tree species, F. excelsior interacts with the environment in a unique way, particularly in relation to nutrient cycling.

Exploration of different management scenarios in response to ash dieback indicated that management which did not remove infected F. excelsior trees was the best for ‘obligate’ and ‘highly associated’ species.

The results highlight wide-ranging ecological implications of ash dieback of relevance to other invasive pests and pathogens that are threatening the integrity of other tree species and woodland ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-109
Number of pages15
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume175
Early online date20 May 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

Fingerprint

dieback
ash
Fraxinus excelsior
lichens
ecosystem function
ecosystems
lichen
invertebrates
tree diseases
pathogen
invertebrate
fungus
fungi
pathogens
Quercus robur
deciduous tree
bryophyte
ecological impact
biogeochemical cycles
nutrient cycling

Keywords

  • Biodiversity loss
  • Chalara fraxinea
  • Decline of common species
  • Emerging diseases
  • Extinction
  • Forest pathology
  • Fungal pathogens
  • Tree diseases

Cite this

Ash dieback in the UK : a review of the ecological and conservation implications. / Mitchell, R. J.; Beaton, J.K.; Bellamy, P.E.; Broome, A.; Checuti, J.; Eaton, S.; Ellis, C. J.; Gimona, A.; Harmer, R.; Hester, A. J.; Hewison, R. L.; Hodgetts, N. G.; Iason, G. R.; Kerr, G.; Littlewood, N. A.; Newey, S.; Potts, J. M.; Pozsgai, G.; Ray, D.; Sim, D. A.; Stockan, J. A.; Taylor, A. F. S.; Woodward, S.

In: Biological Conservation, Vol. 175, 07.2014, p. 95-109.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mitchell, RJ, Beaton, JK, Bellamy, PE, Broome, A, Checuti, J, Eaton, S, Ellis, CJ, Gimona, A, Harmer, R, Hester, AJ, Hewison, RL, Hodgetts, NG, Iason, GR, Kerr, G, Littlewood, NA, Newey, S, Potts, JM, Pozsgai, G, Ray, D, Sim, DA, Stockan, JA, Taylor, AFS & Woodward, S 2014, 'Ash dieback in the UK: a review of the ecological and conservation implications.', Biological Conservation, vol. 175, pp. 95-109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2014.04.019
Mitchell, R. J. ; Beaton, J.K. ; Bellamy, P.E. ; Broome, A. ; Checuti, J. ; Eaton, S. ; Ellis, C. J. ; Gimona, A. ; Harmer, R. ; Hester, A. J. ; Hewison, R. L. ; Hodgetts, N. G. ; Iason, G. R. ; Kerr, G. ; Littlewood, N. A. ; Newey, S. ; Potts, J. M. ; Pozsgai, G. ; Ray, D. ; Sim, D. A. ; Stockan, J. A. ; Taylor, A. F. S. ; Woodward, S. / Ash dieback in the UK : a review of the ecological and conservation implications. In: Biological Conservation. 2014 ; Vol. 175. pp. 95-109.
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abstract = "The death of native trees caused by non-native pathogens is a global problem. An assessment of the potential ecological and conservation impacts of any tree disease should identify: (1) ecosystem functions associated with the tree species; (2) which species use the tree and how; (3) the suitability of alternative tree species to replace the threatened tree species; and (4) potential management options to mitigate or reduce the impact of the disease.We assess the potential ecological impact of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus (ash dieback) on Fraxinus excelsior in the UK. 953 species were identified as associated with F. excelsior trees: 12 birds, 28 mammals, 58 bryophytes, 68 fungi, 239 invertebrates, 548 lichens. Forty-four ‘obligate’ species were identified: 11 fungi, 29 invertebrates and 4 lichens; and 62 ‘highly associated’ species.Off-setting the loss of ash with ‘alternative tree species’ may be one ‘solution’ to the biodiversity threat. No single alternative tree species can act as host for all ash-associated species but Quercus robur/petraea can host 69{\%}. In an assessment of ecosystem function, when compared to other European deciduous tree species, F. excelsior interacts with the environment in a unique way, particularly in relation to nutrient cycling.Exploration of different management scenarios in response to ash dieback indicated that management which did not remove infected F. excelsior trees was the best for ‘obligate’ and ‘highly associated’ species.The results highlight wide-ranging ecological implications of ash dieback of relevance to other invasive pests and pathogens that are threatening the integrity of other tree species and woodland ecosystems.",
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author = "Mitchell, {R. J.} and J.K. Beaton and P.E. Bellamy and A. Broome and J. Checuti and S. Eaton and Ellis, {C. J.} and A. Gimona and R. Harmer and Hester, {A. J.} and Hewison, {R. L.} and Hodgetts, {N. G.} and Iason, {G. R.} and G. Kerr and Littlewood, {N. A.} and S. Newey and Potts, {J. M.} and G. Pozsgai and D. Ray and Sim, {D. A.} and Stockan, {J. A.} and Taylor, {A. F. S.} and S. Woodward",
note = "We thank Keith Kirby for his valuable comments on the vegetation changes associated with ash dieback. For assistance, advice and comments on the invertebrate species involved in this review we would like to thank Richard Askew, John Badmin, Tristan Bantock, Joseph Botting, Sally Lucker, Chris Malumphy, Bernard Nau, Colin Plant, Mark Shaw, Alan Stewart and Alan Stubbs. Chris Preston kindly allowed us access to the electronic data from New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora, Janet Simkin kindly provided data from the British Lichen Society database, and IFOS (Forestry Commission) kindly provided sample square summary data from the National Forest Inventory. This work was funded by JNCC, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England, Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage and Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Representatives from the funders (Sallie Bailey, John Farren, Emma Goldberg, Jeanette Hall, Elizabeth Howe and Vicky Morgan) provided valuable comments and advice.",
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T2 - a review of the ecological and conservation implications.

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AU - Beaton, J.K.

AU - Bellamy, P.E.

AU - Broome, A.

AU - Checuti, J.

AU - Eaton, S.

AU - Ellis, C. J.

AU - Gimona, A.

AU - Harmer, R.

AU - Hester, A. J.

AU - Hewison, R. L.

AU - Hodgetts, N. G.

AU - Iason, G. R.

AU - Kerr, G.

AU - Littlewood, N. A.

AU - Newey, S.

AU - Potts, J. M.

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AU - Ray, D.

AU - Sim, D. A.

AU - Stockan, J. A.

AU - Taylor, A. F. S.

AU - Woodward, S.

N1 - We thank Keith Kirby for his valuable comments on the vegetation changes associated with ash dieback. For assistance, advice and comments on the invertebrate species involved in this review we would like to thank Richard Askew, John Badmin, Tristan Bantock, Joseph Botting, Sally Lucker, Chris Malumphy, Bernard Nau, Colin Plant, Mark Shaw, Alan Stewart and Alan Stubbs. Chris Preston kindly allowed us access to the electronic data from New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora, Janet Simkin kindly provided data from the British Lichen Society database, and IFOS (Forestry Commission) kindly provided sample square summary data from the National Forest Inventory. This work was funded by JNCC, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England, Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage and Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Representatives from the funders (Sallie Bailey, John Farren, Emma Goldberg, Jeanette Hall, Elizabeth Howe and Vicky Morgan) provided valuable comments and advice.

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N2 - The death of native trees caused by non-native pathogens is a global problem. An assessment of the potential ecological and conservation impacts of any tree disease should identify: (1) ecosystem functions associated with the tree species; (2) which species use the tree and how; (3) the suitability of alternative tree species to replace the threatened tree species; and (4) potential management options to mitigate or reduce the impact of the disease.We assess the potential ecological impact of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus (ash dieback) on Fraxinus excelsior in the UK. 953 species were identified as associated with F. excelsior trees: 12 birds, 28 mammals, 58 bryophytes, 68 fungi, 239 invertebrates, 548 lichens. Forty-four ‘obligate’ species were identified: 11 fungi, 29 invertebrates and 4 lichens; and 62 ‘highly associated’ species.Off-setting the loss of ash with ‘alternative tree species’ may be one ‘solution’ to the biodiversity threat. No single alternative tree species can act as host for all ash-associated species but Quercus robur/petraea can host 69%. In an assessment of ecosystem function, when compared to other European deciduous tree species, F. excelsior interacts with the environment in a unique way, particularly in relation to nutrient cycling.Exploration of different management scenarios in response to ash dieback indicated that management which did not remove infected F. excelsior trees was the best for ‘obligate’ and ‘highly associated’ species.The results highlight wide-ranging ecological implications of ash dieback of relevance to other invasive pests and pathogens that are threatening the integrity of other tree species and woodland ecosystems.

AB - The death of native trees caused by non-native pathogens is a global problem. An assessment of the potential ecological and conservation impacts of any tree disease should identify: (1) ecosystem functions associated with the tree species; (2) which species use the tree and how; (3) the suitability of alternative tree species to replace the threatened tree species; and (4) potential management options to mitigate or reduce the impact of the disease.We assess the potential ecological impact of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus (ash dieback) on Fraxinus excelsior in the UK. 953 species were identified as associated with F. excelsior trees: 12 birds, 28 mammals, 58 bryophytes, 68 fungi, 239 invertebrates, 548 lichens. Forty-four ‘obligate’ species were identified: 11 fungi, 29 invertebrates and 4 lichens; and 62 ‘highly associated’ species.Off-setting the loss of ash with ‘alternative tree species’ may be one ‘solution’ to the biodiversity threat. No single alternative tree species can act as host for all ash-associated species but Quercus robur/petraea can host 69%. In an assessment of ecosystem function, when compared to other European deciduous tree species, F. excelsior interacts with the environment in a unique way, particularly in relation to nutrient cycling.Exploration of different management scenarios in response to ash dieback indicated that management which did not remove infected F. excelsior trees was the best for ‘obligate’ and ‘highly associated’ species.The results highlight wide-ranging ecological implications of ash dieback of relevance to other invasive pests and pathogens that are threatening the integrity of other tree species and woodland ecosystems.

KW - Biodiversity loss

KW - Chalara fraxinea

KW - Decline of common species

KW - Emerging diseases

KW - Extinction

KW - Forest pathology

KW - Fungal pathogens

KW - Tree diseases

U2 - 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.04.019

DO - 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.04.019

M3 - Article

VL - 175

SP - 95

EP - 109

JO - Biological Conservation

JF - Biological Conservation

SN - 0006-3207

ER -