Extinction of Ash trees in Europe

Ash tree infection by EAB

As we all know ash trees are under danger of being extinct. Ash trees are very wide spread across the world, and they are key part of the forests in Europe. 2.2 million of ash trees are all around towns and cities in Britain. According to the Journal of Ecology, British landscape will never look same again, and more than that it will have a severe impact on biodiversity. The reason why ash trees declining in its numbers is because of the fungal disease called ash dieback, and also because of invasive beetle called emerald ash borer. According to Dr. Peter Thomas ash trees will go extinct because of the diseases, as have seen the elimination of elm by Dutch elm disease.

Ash dieback is a disease that was first seen in Eastern Europe in early 1990s. This disease also known as Chalara, it is a chronic fungal disease and affects 2,000,000 km2. The disease is caused by fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. The disease first affects the leaves and kills them, then disease proceeds to branches, to trunk, and eventually tree dies. 15-20% of ash trees do not show any symptoms. By 2012 it already had spread to Belgium, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Romani, Russia, Ireland, and Britain. Another important disease that mainly affects ash trees is emerald ash borer, it is a bright green beetle, which is native to Asia. Female beetles lay eggs in barks on ash trees, and larvae feed underneath the bark, and develops into adult. The adult bees that feed on ash cause a damage. The native range of emerald ash borer includes Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan, and Korea. The impact of ash going extinct is huge, because 1,000 species are associated with ash, including 12 types of birds, 55 mammals and 240 invertebrates.

According to scientists there is a small hope, because cloned ash trees have shown resistance against the fungus, but it is not resistant against emerald ash borer. So emerald ash borer continues to being a threat to ash trees. But again both diseases already caused a large-scale decline of ash trees across Europe, and it is possible that ash trees will extinct.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35876621

http://www.ndrs.org.uk/article.php?file=2008-25.asp

http://www.emeraldashborer.info/

 

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