The Threat to our Ash Trees
Over the last few days, news reports have revealed that British ash trees are threatened by a disease called ash dieback. The disease could devastate the 80 million ash trees across Britain – that’s about a quarter of all trees growing here.  But people power can help to stop it.
Computer programmers have teamed up with tree experts to make a clever piece of software called AshTag.  It lets people send in photos and locations of ash trees they think may have ash dieback. The photos are checked by a team of experts and then action is taken to try to stop the spread of the disease.
Once trees lose their leaves, it’s much harder to spot the signs of ash dieback.  So this weekend is vital: it could be the last chance to gather information about the health of our ash trees before spring. If you’re going for a walk in the woods can you help identify ash trees in danger?
If you have a smartphone or a digital camera, it’s simple. If you spot an ash tree with signs of the disease, take a photo and send it in using the website or the AshTag app on your mobile phone.
If you have an iPhone you can download the AshTag app by searching the App Store on your phone for “AshTag” or by clicking here:
If you have an Android phone search for “AshTag” in the Google Play store from your phone or use this link:
If you don’t have a smartphone you can take a digital photo and upload it onto the website here: http://www.ashtag.org
Toby Hammond, one of the experts at the University of East Anglia who developed AshTag said: “38 Degrees members have proved they care passionately about our woodlands, through the amazing work they did saving the forests last year. If they could join us now in our fight to save Britain’s ash trees it could make all the difference to how our woodlands look in the future.”
Government has taken a few steps to try and stop the spread of the disease.  But there’s a real danger these measures won’t be enough – and without tracking tree health, we won’t know whether or not the government’s plans are working.
In Denmark this deadly disease has wiped out 90% of ash trees.  We need to make sure that doesn’t happen to our trees here. If thousands of us get out into our woods to get the facts, we’ve got a much better chance of heading off a disaster for Britain’s beautiful woodlands.
Click here to help protect our woodlands and find out how to spot signs of ash dieback: http://www.ashtag.org
Thanks for being involved,
Belinda, David, Robin and the 38 Degrees
 Channel 4 – Q&A ash dieback disease: http://www.channel4.com/news/q-and-a-ash-dieback-disease
 The Daily Mail – The mobile phone app that could help save Britain’s ash trees: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2224796/The-app-help-save-Britains-Ash-trees.html
 Foresty Commission – Chalara dieback of ash: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara
 Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs – Government bans import of Ash trees: http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2012/10/29/ash-trees-import-ban/
 The Guardian – Dieback kills off 90% of Denmark’s ash trees. Britain faces a similar threat: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/07/disease-killing-denmarks-ash-trees