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Living Ash Project

Securing the future for ash trees in Britain

Spread of ash dieback March 2016

The arrival of Chalara ash dieback in the UK is a serious threat to our native ash trees and the nature of our woodlands. With over 120 million ash trees in Britain, it will also dramatically alter the appearance of our landscape. Many wildlife species only live on ash trees, so if we lose the ash, these species too may also vanish.

In October 2015 we recorded the disease in our national research woodland Paradise Wood.

The map shows how far the disease has spread (from 2012 (light green) to March 2016 (pink) - further details can be found on the Forestry Research website.

Earth Trust is leading the Living Ash Project, funded by Defra, aiming to identify ash trees with tolerance to the disease. 

What we’re doing

Evidence from Denmark, where Chalara is more prevalent, indicates that approximately 1% of trees show good resistance. Natural selection will produce disease-resistance trees; quickly identifying these and using them in a breeding programme will enable us to rapidly produce resilient trees. 

Disease-resistant trees will provide a genetically diverse and resilient population for future productive woodland planting.

Earth Trust is the home of Paradise Wood, an national research woodland, and the largest genetic collection of timber trees and a breeding programme for ash trees. Working with project partners, we have been working on breeding ash for over twenty years and have assembled a substantial collection of ash trees from across the species native range, which has great genetic diversity.

Keep up to date with the latest on the project by searching #LivingAshProject on Twitter.

What you can do

You can help us save our amazing ash trees. 

1. Be vigilant 

Please be aware that if you see ash dieback on your walks you may accidentally spread the disease.  Please clean your foot wear after visiting areas with infected trees to reduce the chance of spreading the disease.

2. Tag an ash tree

The project is calling on you to aid in the identification of tolerant trees. If you know of ash trees that are local to you, taking part is simple: obtain a free tag to attach the tree and start to monitor it - keep an eye out for anything suspicious and get in touch at the first sign of disease.

3. Donate now

You can help us as we try to secure the future of ash trees by making a donation today:
Text ASHD15 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 (or change the amount to donate more)
Or click the button to donate online:

Donate with JustGiving

Please use #LivingAshProject when talking about ash dieback on social media.


Earlier this year Forestry Reserach Manager Dr Jo Clark explained all about the Living Ash Project on That's Oxfordshire TV:


Living Ash Project

Full details can be found on the Living Ash Project website.

Living Ash Project partners

Future Trees Trust

Sylva Foundation

Forest Research

Further information:

British Ash Tree Genome Project