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The specific objectives of Forest Research in the Living Ash Project are to establish new genetic trials to whether, and to what extent, tolerance of ash trees to damage caused by ash dieback is governed by genetics. The genetic trials will enable us to understand how much responses vary among families, whether breeding trees will incur a cost for tree growth and form and explore whether and how this changes over time.
Results from the trials will help determine the scope for breeding as a solution to the ash dieback problem.
The trees used for these genetic trials were raised from seed collected from improved ash seed orchards, so are related to those already planted under the existing ash breeding programme. Forest Research are also developing tissue culture techniques to enable us to rapidly produce large numbers of any tolerant trees identified, for use in future reforestation.
A final strand of this project, which is run by the Future Trees Trust, will use citizen science to screen the wider ash population in native and planted woodlands, streets and hedgerows. The objective is to produce trees that show good tolerance to the fungus, and plant them on the public forest estate as an archive which can then be made available to the forest industry.
This project entered its second phase in 2019 with additional financial support from DEFRA.
Establish new progeny trials:
Tissue Culture techniques:
Testing for tolerance to ash die-back across various ash species.