“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Friday, 2 November 2012

Ash dieback. Warm knees may be the only consolation.

Despite the impression you get looking out across the  Weald from Leith Hill, England is not a very heavily wooded country but we seem to have a particular affection for the patchwork of hedgerows and small stands of hardwood that make up the English landscape. The news about the spread of ash dieback disease is very sad and unless some kind of treatment can be found the ash could well go the way of our elms. The import of ash saplings has been blamed for the spread of the disease and no doubt  there is something in this. From bubonic plague onward nothing aids the spread of pests and diseases quite as much as trade and protecting people and crops becomes ever more difficult as the web of globalisation expands. We can do what we can to try and halt the spread of ash dieback but nature will probably take it's course. If there is a program of felling one small consolation will be the abundance of the very best firewood. Apart from being the timber of choice for manufacturing tool handles, nothing burns quite like an ash log but whether the satisfaction of putting another one in the stove will be enjoyed by future generations is open to question.


Brrr said...

The ash die back coming into Britain was due to politicians doing nothing to prevent it despite it being very well explained to them what would happen if imports weren't banned. Even the importers themselves were asking for a ban.
George Monbiot explains this very well in his recent articles.
The government mindset seems to be free trade at any cost, any restriction on business is evil.

woodsy said...

I'd be most sad to see ash heading the same way as elm due to disease.

However, there's one (very small) consolation: at least I'm of an age now where I can remember what an ash looks like. When elms were being killed by Dutch elm disease, I didn't take much notice of what they looked like - and regret that now.