Larch disease at Castell Coch

Monday’s Times reported that Welsh environmental authorities have ordered 4,000 trees that are infected with larch disease to be felled around Castell Coch near Cardiff.

Phytophthora ramorum (larch tree disease) is a fungus-like pathogen that causes extensive damage and kills a wide range of trees and other plants.  Gareth Roberts, Local Area Manager from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said,

“We know that Forest Fawr is well loved by the community and we want to reassure people that we will do everything we can to minimise any disruption from these works.  Although it is some time off, we are already planning the harvesting in two phases, so we can always keep areas of the forest open for people to use, and so we can minimise the impact on protected species and the local wildlife.  It is upsetting that we have to remove the trees, but we know the forest will still be a wonderful place for people to visit in the future.  We will continue to work with local businesses and interest groups to keep them up to date as our plans progress, and during the harvesting work.”

Currently, there are no plans for a replanting programme as Natural Resources Wales [NRW] said that the work would encourage native species to regenerate:

“After the harvesting has taken place, NRW will encourage native species such as beech, oak, birch, wild cherry, rowan and hazel in the forest to naturally regenerate. NRW will monitor the regeneration in the forest over the following years before considering if any replanting is required.”

If this doesn’t produce the required species or density of trees, NRW says it will look at restocking the site.  Anna McMorrin, the Cardiff North MP, is leading a petition on Change.org demanding that the trees be replaced.

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