Tree felling has begun around the forest at Ae to slow the spread of a disease which is affecting larch trees in the area.
And Forest Enterprise Scotland, which is undertaking the operation, has warned anyone visiting the forest to take precautions to take precautions to hep prevent the further spread of the disease
Phytophthora Ramorum mainly affects larch and has been largely confined to the Galloway region although it has now spread eastwards and northwards. All infected trees have to be removed as well as the un-infected trees surrounding them to stop the production and transmission of spores. Significant areas around Ae Forest, Clauchrie Forest and Mabie Forest will be cleared of larch to reduce its spread.
Alan Gale, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s tree health manager said: “Unfortunately there’s no alternative to felling if we are to try and reduce the spread of this tree disease. The forests affected are popular with visitors and unfortunately this will mean that temporary diversions on walking and biking routes are likely. We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding whilst the felling is being carried out.
“I would urge the public to join us in our ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign, which asks that before arriving at any forest, visitors clean their boots and bikes, any kit they’re bringing and even pets paws if dog walking.
“This disease can travel in mud and forest debris so it is important to clean it off before visiting woodlands.”
Although the landscape will change, Forest Enterprise Scotland intends to take the opportunity to redesign the forests for the better. The trees being felled will be replaced over time and the timber can still be used and will supply key markets as normal.