Trees in Cambusbarron forest will be felled after disease discovery

A “significant” quantity of larch must be felled over much of Gillies Hill in Cambusbarron following the discovery of diseased trees.

The work, which covers 21 hectares northwest of the woodland, is to begin this Monday, January 10 and continue until the end of February.

In November, Scottish Forestry published a Plant Health Notice (SPHN) to the Cambusbarron Community Development Trust after a routine inspection discovered tree disease, Phyophthora ramorum or P.ramorum in two locations in the forest.

Cambusbarron Community Development Trust (CCDT) administrator Jim O’Connor said this week: the wooded area.

“While a significant number of larches will be felled in this area, there will remain a considerable number of other magnificent trees including beech, douglas, Scots pine and spruce.

“Every effort will be made to ensure the protection of these trees during the felling and removal of larches.

“Thanks to forestry advice, the CCDT planned to thin the larches to reduce the risk of such an infection.

“Larches are distinguished by the fact that they are conifers and have needles, but unlike most conifers, they lose their needles in the fall.

“This disease, P. Ramorum, has been infecting larches in Scotland since 2010 and is spreading.

“The SPHN, as issued to the CCDT, is the most common way to try to control the spread of this terrible tree disease. “

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Felling work by RTS Forestry contractors will be carried out in phases over six to eight weeks.

Mr O’Connor added: “The goal is to prevent large wooded areas from being closed at all times.

“The areas being slaughtered will be closed to public access by the RTS.

“The paths will be closed with signs, tape and, where appropriate, physical barriers.

“Trees near any active path will be felled under the supervision of bankers.

“The CCDT asks members of the public who wish to use the woodlot while carrying out the work to respect the notices and access restrictions for their own safety.

The slaughter operation is expected to be completed by February 28.

The felled logs must be transported from the affected area to a stacking area located near the walled garden of Château de Polmaise.

This operation will last at least until the end of March.

In the longer term, the CCDT will replant the affected area with new trees that are not as susceptible to tree diseases.

The planting scheme will be developed once the clearing is completed with a first phase scheduled for the end of 2022.

The CCDT was formed in June 2010 and became a Scottish charity in 2017.

She purchased some 64 acres of woodland on Gillies Hill on behalf of the local community in 2019 through donations and grants.

The woodland is popular with walkers and cyclists as a recreational resource.

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