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Dutch Elm Disease: Island’S Unique Status Work Acknowledged By Minister 29 September 2006

The Department is pleased to announce that 2006 has been another successful year in the battle to control Dutch elm. The Department’s Minister, Phil Gawne, is grateful for the work done in the field, both by officers of the Department and by the temporary surveyors employed during the summer and wishes to pass on his Department’s appreciation and thanks to all those landowners who have provided access to privately-owned land for surveying purposes.

The Island experienced a warm summer which gave rise to a total of 83 days when the temperature rose above 18oc; the temperature at which the bark beetle responsible for spreading the disease, becomes active. During this period of warm weather a total of just 16 mature trees became infected, along with 11 smaller saplings. These were all destroyed within 48 hours of detection as part of the Department’s integrated control strategy. The main control zone remains in the north of the Island.

The U.K. research experts in this field have informed the Department that the Island is unique in Western Europe for its elm population, Dutch elm disease having devastated elm populations elsewhere. It appears that the waters around the Island have provided a valuable buffer against the spread of the disease in that one of the species of bark beetle which has been responsible for the rapid spread of the disease elsewhere, is absent from the Island. The Department carries out scientific tests each summer to ensure that remains the case.

Anybody working with elm should be aware that there are Regulations controlling the importation of timber with bark attached and that movement of elm within the Island is controlled by licence (obtainable from the Forestry, Amenity & Lands Division of the Department).

Anybody who has witnessed the impact that elm disease has had on the English countryside will be fully aware of the level of risk which the Island faces. Control measures introduced at the onset of the disease here in 1992 have proved to be effective this far.

For further information, please contact Mr. R.G. Pollard, Chief Forestry Officer on 801263.

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