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The last stand of the British Elm

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posted on Aug, 22 2010 @ 03:50 AM
The British Elm once covered large areas of the British landscape... You only have to look at works of art, from the likes of Turner, to see these trees in their magnificence. There is even an area in north London called "Seven Sisters" which was named this because of the seven Elms which were planted there in a circle. (sorry Spurs fan here

During the late 1960's logs imported from Canada brought with them a fungal disease that quickly spread through the British forests. Spread by the bite of the Elm Bark beetle, the leaves first yellow and then the tree starts to die back. As part of an initiative to prevent the complete extinction, of the British Elm, a mass felling of millions of trees in infected areas was initiated.

This felling transformed the landscape. However, the disease was brought under control and, through continued forest management, outbreaks have been kept to a minimum.

However, the disease now seems to be back (Although it never truly went away but was actually controlled very well... but it is now flaring up mainly due to cutbacks and a change in policy regarding tree management responsibility) and presents a massive threat to our remaining Elms.

Unfortunately we do not seem to have the same willingness to deal with this issue as what existed in the 70's. In a time of economic woe does the government really want to spend millions on what some will view as "just a few trees”?

A sad reflection of society’s detachment from the natural world. In my humble opinion these remaining British trees are just as important as St Paul Cathedral or Tower Bridge... They are a living testimony to British history and are an important part of our heritage.

They are also living breathing organisms that have been placed under threat (indirectly) by the actions of humans. We have a moral and cultural obligation to save these trees.

My hope is that the Government, local authorities and the forestry commission can put politics aside and solve this problem!!

Sadly, i doubt it.

[edit on 22-8-2010 by Muckster]

posted on Aug, 22 2010 @ 04:55 AM
Well, I think what needs to be counted in the mix is that the residents in this part of the coast really do love our Elm trees and we have a deep pride in the fact we have the largest collection of mature elms (reportedly the worlds largest and most diverse)

I grew up in Brighton, and live in the Rape of Lewes in the Ouse Valley, I walk my dog over the downs, along the Cuckmere and through Friston, I know and love the trees in that area...

But as far DED management goes, there are plenty of managed area's, each broken down into parishes to provide as much protection as possible to our remaining trees, we even have volunteer Elm Wardens that go round checking on the health of our elms.

But yes, the response at the moment is not as quick as it has been in the past, although most are vigilant to the disease, some are complacent, and that is the current problem which I hope they rectify soon.

Southdowns DED Control Area

posted on Aug, 22 2010 @ 09:17 AM
I'd like to say that if this extinction of the Elm is caused by human negligence.

I'd rather see the Tower bridge, the Big Ben, and every other human masterpiece destroyed if it would save this tree.

People forget that a tree is often home to its own small eco sytem, with species specialized or even unique for that specific tree. Lets hope that this isn't the case. Still...

Terrible news

posted on Aug, 22 2010 @ 10:22 AM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

I completely agree Sinter

Just for clarification...

When i said...

In my humble opinion these remaining British trees are just as important as St Paul Cathedral or Tower Bridge

I was referring to their importance as British cultural icons... reading over my initial OP i don’t think i made that clear enough...

Of course if someone said to me "you have a choice between the trees and some important buildings" I would happily watch the building fall.

There is not much in life that is more important to me than the natural world.


posted on Aug, 22 2010 @ 02:04 PM
Yeah that sucks.

I believe we had (have) that Dutch Elm disease here in New Zealand as well

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