International efforts to protect forests have been given a boost by a unique information initiative headed by a University of Ulster scientist. Leading a four-year project compiling research by 100 European scientists, Coleraine-based researcher Dr Keith Day has co-edited a landmark publication providing essential information aimed at saving trees from bark-devouring insects, some of which transmit virulent fungi such as Dutch elm disease.
"The result is that forest research organisations in Europe now have a consolidated, state-of-the-art single volume in which they will find all the most recent data from Europe’s top specialists. This is a major advance on what we had before - scientific research which was disparate, often unconnected and in 21 languages," he said. "The outcome is a clear message on research priorities from the 100 scientists in 24 countries who participated in the research effort," explained Dr Day, who is a Reader at the School of Environmental Sciences, Coleraine.
Forests are an essential ingredient in global ecology, for example in easing the greenhouse effect and as a wildlife habitat. They are a mainstay industrial resource and everyday natural amenity. Governments and forestry managers need up-to-the minute data on insects such as aggressive bark beetles that can destroy large areas of mature forest. The elm bark beetle, which carries the Dutch elm fungus, has been responsible for wiping out many mature elms in Britain and Ireland in the past 20 years.
David Young | alfa
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