Target: British Prime Minister David Cameron
Goal: Save the United Kingdom’s ash tree population by placing an import ban on foreign ash trees infected with a deadly fungus
Chalara dieback of ash is a disease of ash trees caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus. The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, often leading to their death. The fungus has been widespread in many parts of Europe for some time, but appeared for the first time within the United Kingdom in June. It has been found in 10 locations since then and is causing alarm because of the extremely damaging effect it would have on the UK’s forests – a third of which are various species of ash.
In seven years, the fungus has managed to kill 90% of the Netherlands’ ash trees. It is for these reasons, and the ease with which trees in the UK have become affected by diseases carried by plants imported into the country, that UK operations director at the Woodland Trust Norman Starks is calling for a compulsory ban on all ash trees being brought into the UK from across Europe. The cost and safety of having to remove infected trees should it become widespread in the UK would be impractical, and as such the fungus movement need be cut off immediately.
Demand that governments across the UK act quickly and decisively to stop the spread of this disease before it becomes worse. The UK’s island nature makes it possible to deter the permeation if the appropriate steps are taken. A ban must immediately be placed on all ash tree importing into the United Kingdom.
Dear Prime Minister Cameron,
The future health of the United Kingdom’s ash tree population is in danger. Chalara fraxinea is a fungus which has spread throughout much of Europe and has been the cause of death for countless trees. The disease was first seen in the UK in June, and is now being seen to spread rapidly across many locations. A third of the UK’s forests are made up of different species of ash trees, and appropriate action must be taken to save them from being decimated.
An immediate compulsory ban must be placed on all ash trees imported from outside the UK, as it is these infected plants which have brought the fungus. Doing so makes it possible to stop the growth of the disease, but only if decisively implemented and reinforced. As a responsible leader, you must take it upon yourself to push for such a policy so that the ash trees of the United Kingdom can remain safe.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Patricia Fletcher