Trees in trouble: the growing threat from introduced pathogens

Lecture Theatre B34, Birkbeck, University of London,
Torrington Square,
United Kingdom
Trees in trouble

Speaker: Dr Clive Brasier, Emeritus Mycologist, Tree Health, Forest Research

Friday 15th March, 18.30
Lecture theatre B34, Birkbeck College,Torrington Square, London.

(Image right, Royal Horticultural Society)

Clive Brasier is Emeritus Mycologist with Forest Research, an agency of the Forestry Commission,and until recently was Visiting Professor in Mycology at Imperial College. He specialises in theorigins, biology and spread of introduced tree pathogens and their potential for rapid evolution withspecial emphasis on Dutch elm disease pathogens, and Phytophthora pathogens such as the‘sudden oak death‘ pathogen. He has travelled extensively across the Northern hemisphere toobtain research material. In 2002 Clive left the FR payroll to devote more time to what he saw asthe growing biosecurity threat to UK’s forests and natural ecosystems and the need to reformlegislation governing international movement of plants.(Web: from the enormously destructive Dutch elm disease epidemic that began around 1970 theperiod 1950-2000 was one of relative quiescence in terms of tree disease outbreaks in the UK.However our trees and natural ecosystems are now under attack as never before. The past decadehas seen a dramatic increase in the frequency of damaging new outbreaks, most of them resultingfrom inappropriate general nursery or specialist plant imports. The recent outbreak of Ash dieback(Chalara fraxinea) is one such example. Others include outbreaks on our oaks, alders, pines,junipers, cypresses, larches and chestnuts. The talk will outline the build up to the present crisis,the underlying causes including the origins and modes of arrival of the pathogens, biologicalconsequences such as forest degradation and some possible solutions.

Pressures on Wildlife - Conflicts and Ecological Debates Birkbeck Ecology and Conservation Studies Society and the Linnean Society of London Free Lecture Series. 

Wildlife is greatly valued by many of us, but some gives rise to conflicts. Do we all want to see raptors increasing? What about field sports? Can we do anything to stem the inexorable spread of Grey Squirrels at the expense of the native Reds? How best can we halt the spread of TB in cattle, knowing that Badgers carry the disease? Will High Speed Rail cause ecological severance? Most of us would like to see rats controlled, but how far should pest control extend, as far as Feral Pigeons?

Click here for a map to Birkbeck College (marked as '1').