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Chris Hazzard MP has asked the Environment Minister Edwin Poots to take immediate action to help protect Rostrevor native oak wood following a likely Phytophthora Ramorum disease outbreak in the nearby Rostrevor Forest plantation.

The South Down MP said “It has become evident in recent weeks that thousands of larch and fir trees appear to be dying in Rostrevor Forest. 

South Down MP Chris Hazzard is concerned about the potential presence of a deadly tree disease in Rostrevor Forest.
South Down MP Chris Hazzard is concerned about the potential presence of a deadly tree disease in Rostrevor Forest.

"From looking at the expanding brown patching in the plantation it is not clear if this has been caused by disease, but it certainly would appear to be P-Ramorum, more commonly known as sudden larch disease. 

“I have asked the Minister to confirm the cause of this incident as a matter of urgency and ensure that an appropriate assessment is carried out in order to protect the nearby native oak wood as the pathogen is likely to spread quite aggressively. 

“I’ve also asked the Minister to allow native trees to reseed in the affected area, as these will not only be much more resistant to invasive pathogens, but will also offer an exciting opportunity to move away from the non-native species that currently blight the landscape. 

“In redesigning our local landscape in such a fashion we can help improve biodiversity, encourage much needed rewilding, and proactively nurture the local woodland in the interests of wildlife.

This would also be a fantastic learning environment; and would be a great opportunity if it were to be realised.”

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