Friday, 4 May 2012

Pink Sculpture to Highlight Fungal Disease

A 300 year old oak tree in Devon, UK has been painted pink to highlight the devastating effect that the fungal disease Phytophthora is having on larch trees, killing many thousands in the South West of England since 2009.
This is the first time that this disease has been noted killing large numbers of coniferous trees, though it has been known as a pathogen of shrubs & bushes for some time.
The disease has now been detected as far north as Scotland so seems to be spreading rapidly (outbreak map).

This artwork serves also to reiterate the subject of one of our recent blogs on the devastating rise in reported fungal disease outbreaks. We highlighted an important report in April that has detected increases in fungal disease throughout the world and in many different host species. Possible causes listed were increases in the rate at which new fungal species and strains can be introduced into many parts of the world via modern international trade and travel, climate changes affecting the ability of host species to resist fungal infection and the ability of the fungus to rapidly evolve into new ecological niches.

Here we see fungi threatening our supply of wood in the UK, but across the world fungal disease is threatening food supply, human & animal illness and much more. Increasing awareness of these problems is rapidly becoming more important and a new initiative 'Leading International Fungal Awareness' (LIFE) aims to do just that,

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