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Ecological Impacts of Tree Diseases

Diagram of the cascading effects of tree diseases on biodiversity and ecosystem servicesThere are an increasing number of non-native pests and pathogens that are impact the UK’s trees. The decline in a particular tree species will impact a wide range of other species that use that trees species as well as driving changes in ecosystem functions. 

Many species use trees directly for either feeding such as insects or as a habitat/living space such as bryophytes and lichens.  Not all trees are equal.  Some species will only use one or a very limited number of tree species.  Therefore a wide spread decline in the population of one tree species may drive changes in species that are heavily dependent on it.

Tree diseases will have cascading effects on biodiversity, ecosystem function and services.  Woodland management may change as a response of tree diseases which in turn will influence biodiversity and ecosystem services.  Ultimately the diseased species will be replaced by other tree species which in turn will influence the biodiversity and woodland functioning.

We aim to understand these impacts and identify mitigation methods to help conserve species associated with UK trees that are currently threatened. We have detailed studies on the ecological impacts of a decline in:

Contact Dr Ruth Mitchell for further information

Copies of talks given on both oak and ash work are below, publications on either oak or ash are the separate web pages shown above.

Collapsing foundations: the ecology of the British oak and ash, implications of its decline and mitigation options. Talk to Small Woods Association and Action Oak Conference, 26 February 2021.


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.