Map of ash trees across the UK and Ireland showing confirmed cases of ash dieback disease (Chalara). Graphic: BBC News

By Claire Marshall
23 March 2016

(BBC News) – The ash tree is likely to be wiped out in Europe, according to a review of the evidence.

The trees are being killed off by the fungal disease ash-dieback along with an invasive beetle called the emerald ash borer.

According to the research, published in the Journal of Ecology, the British countryside will never look the same again.

The paper says that the ash will most likely be "eliminated" in Europe.

This could mirror the way Dutch elm disease largely wiped out the elm in the 1980s.

Ash trees are a key part of the treescape of Britain. You don't have to go to the countryside to see them. In and around towns and cities there are 2.2 million. In woodland, only the oak is more common.

However, according to a review led by Dr Peter Thomas of Keele University and published in the Journal of Ecology, "between the fungal disease ash dieback and a bright green beetle called the emerald ash borer, it is likely that almost all ash trees in Europe will be wiped out - just as the elm was largely eliminated by Dutch elm disease".

Ash dieback, also known as Chalara, is a disease that was first seen in Eastern Europe in 1992. It now affects more than 2 million sq km, from Scandinavia to Italy. […]

This won't just change our landscape - it will have a severe impact on biodiversity. 1,000 species are associated with ash or ash woodland, including 12 types of bird, 55 mammals and 239 invertebrates.

Mr Thomas said, "Of these, over 100 species of lichens, fungi, and insects are dependent upon the ash tree and are likely to decline or become extinct if the ash was gone. [more]

Ash tree set for extinction in Europe

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