Neville Fay recently attended the 2016 National Tree Officers Conference where his co-author, John Parker presented the launch of their revision and updating of Lucio Montecchio’s booklet Detecting and identifying Canker stain of plane.
The conference showcases latest research, best practice and innovation in different areas of local authority arboricultural work and is hosted by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA), and the Institute of Chartered Foresters.
John Parker (Chair of the LTOA) gave the presentation at the conference where biosecurity is a major talking point. The LTOA conference is a vital resource for tree officers, providing them with latest thinking and practical guidance on how to meet the challenges posed by the potential spread of disease among our tree populations.
John, also Senior Technical Specialist at the Arboriculture & Landscape Department of Transport for London, gave an in-depth presentation of the revised booklet at the conference.
Dr Montecchio is at the forefront of research on Ceratocystis platani, the fungal pathogen that causes canker stain of plane trees. It rapidly infects this species, causing disruption of water movement, cankers and eventually death. It has been prevalent in his native Italy since the 1940s when it is thought to have been introduced from the United States.
Over the past two decades the pathogen has spread to other countries in Europe. The key to containing a potential outbreak is in training our native tree officers and arboricultural practitioners to identify the disease. It is estimated that plane trees make up 10% of the UK’s total tree population, most of which are within the urban forest. In 2014 the UK was awarded Protected Zone Status to provide extra safeguards. A prerequisite of this status is to be able to demonstrate that proactive measures are in place, including training and monitoring and recording the status of the pathogen within our national borders.
This year we launched our new partnership study programme with Padova University, holding a highly successful specialist workshop on Canker stain of plane in collaboration with Prof Montecchio at his De Rebus Plantarum laboratory.
Our close collaboration with Prof Montecchio and his Department at the University of Padova has led to a greater national awareness among arboricultural professionals and increased expertise in identification of this disease.
This collaboration places us at the forefront of UK research into biosecurity threats to European trees. The partnership is an extension of our prestigious Innovations in Arboriculture Seminar Series and we will be announcing our next such international study workshop early in the New Yaer.
Progressive and proactive approaches to conservation are pivotal to our work and once again we are delighted to be in the vanguard of the nations first defences against tree decline.