Alisha Anstee, lead policy advocate Tree Health and Invasives at Woodland Trust, said:
“Invasive non-native species pose significant threats to our native woodlands and trees; both direct, such as the fungus that causes Ash Dieback and indirect like the rhododendron on the forest floor which suppresses native species and prevents tree regeneration.
“This year marks 10 years since Ash Dieback was first identified in England. This should have been a wake-up call for the havoc invasive species can cause to our natural environment. But the number of tree pests and diseases, of which many are non-native, continues to increase. Losing trees from these species will dramatically impede the UK’s ability to increase tree cover to meet climate targets and address the biodiversity crisis. It’s widely recognised that imported plants and plant products are a substantial pathway for the entry of invasive species onto UK shores. We need the Government to commit to reversing the reliance on imported plants. It’s time to invest in our domestic nursery sector and to raise and plant British sourced and grown trees.”
Matt Pitts, Meadows Advisor at Plantlife, said:
“Action to reduce the threat posed to juniper by Phytophthora austrocedri is urgent given the alarming rate at which the purple berried beauty, one of only three native conifers, has already been declining in recent decades. Juniper was once a common feature of chalk downlands but is now facing extinction in southern Britain. There is only one juniper bush on the Isle of Wight and just 14 in Dorset. It has been lost from nearly 50% of its historic range, and should this trend continue, over 100 specialist invertebrates and fungi will disappear too. This emerging threat will only hasten the decline and we must do all we can to nip it in the bud.”
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