Forest and woodland in Wales is under threat from drastic climate change, and conservationists are warning that we need to capture information about it now before it’s too late.
Plant diseases such as Ash Die back, which is now widespread throughout Wales, are threatening the survival of our hedgerows and woodland canopies.
Ash trees are the third most abundant tree in the UK.
Estimates indicate that within 10 years, we could see 90-98% of all Ash trees disappear. This could leave massive gaps in hedgerows, on farms, in the woodland canopy, in all urban areas.
Conservationists warn this will mean a loss of habitat for many birds, insects and wildlife, as mature Ash trees can support up to 500 different Lichens.
Eryl Roberts – Estate Manager, Wales – Coed Cadw, explains:
“Generally, we can say that the disease is now widespread throughout Wales, and we have examples of it affecting young ash in many of our woodland creation sites. There is no remedy for the disease and its potential for decimating ash-dominated woods and for changing the landscape of the wider countryside, where ash is often a dominant hedgerow tree, is a huge concern.”
The Long Forest project, run by the environmental charity, Keep Wales Tidy and the Woodland Trust funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, are trying to capture information about the current state of the hedgerows in Wales.
Long Forest has created an easy to use surveying tool that anybody can use regardless of their age or knowledge. The app which contains a hedgerow species Identification guide, walks the user through a few simple steps to survey a hedgerow. The aim is to gather detail about hedgerows across all parts of Wales in a mix of environments.
Hannah Wilcox Brooke, Long Forest coordinator explains:
“It is so important that we take action now to record the condition of our hedgerows in Wales. We have developed the first easy to use surveying hedgerow app that members of the general public can use. It only takes 10 mins to complete a stretch of hedgerow and can help us determine how our landscape in Wales is changing.”
Ash die back is a major problem and the public are being asked to join the campaign and start surveying using the Long Forest app. The free Long Forest app is available on IOS and Android through the Apple App Store and Google Play store. If you would like to get involved with the Long Forest project, visit www.longforest.cymru for more information.