8 Dec 2021

Timber movement restrictions in place over tree disease

Woodland managers and landowners around Loch Carron and the north of Kyle of Lochalsh are being advised on new measures affecting the movement of timber.

The new restrictions have been put in place because the tree disease Phytophthora Pluvialis has been found in the area.

Scottish Forestry has introduced a demarcated zone around the infected site at Loch Carron to help avoid accidental spread of the pathogen.

Within this zone, no-one can move any timber of Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Tanoak and pine species within, or out of the area, without notifying Scottish Forestry in advance.

James Nott, Scottish Forestry’s Head of Tree Health said:

"We’ve moved quickly to put measures in place to help prevent the spread of this tree disease following the well-established biosecurity protocol used for tree pests and diseases.

"We are asking woodland owners to check the health of Western Hemlock and Douglas Fir trees.

Key symptoms to look for are lesions on the stem, branch or roots. Any possible sightings of the symptoms should be notified on the Tree Alert online system immediately.”

Phytophthora pluvialis is a fungus-like pathogen which causes needle cast (where needles turn brown and fall off), shoot dieback, and lesions on the stem, branches, and roots.

It was first discovered earlier this year in Devon, Cornwall and Cumbria in England.

Mr Nott added:

"The restrictions put in place are for the movement of timber and susceptible material on certain tree species, so it doesn’t affect people visiting the countryside.

“However, everyone can play a part in in preventing the spread of pests and pathogens by taking simple steps. They should clean their shoes, bike tyres and pet’s paws before visits. Everyone has a part they can play in protecting our woodlands."

As the disease has never been detected in Europe before, research is ongoing to understand if other potentially susceptible species could become impacted. This will help inform which control measures are appropriate and the potential impact this pathogen could have on the landscape and the forestry sector.

Scottish Forestry will continue to work with partner agencies across the UK to share information, experience and understanding to ensure a joint approach to monitoring and managing the situation.

The details of the Demarcation Zone and restrictions can be found here.