Kingston Maurward arboriculture student wins bursary for tree disease conference

An arboriculture student awarded a Spencer Bursary from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) has used it to join industry experts at a national conference focused on the diseases and pests faced by many of our trees and woodlands.

The Tree Diseases Conference, hosted by RFS and the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE), saw experts unite in highlighting the human potential to inadvertently spread new and potentially devastating pests and diseases to a wide range of UK trees, woodlands and forests, including acute Oak Decline.

Oliver Frost, who is studying part time for a Foundation Degree in Arboriculture at Kingston Maurward College, said: "I found the day very useful. The broadness of speaker perspectives gave an excellent overview. I came away with my own view reinforced that natural systems must be supported and emulated wherever possible, diversity equals stability and reduces the chance of catastrophe within the system."
Frost lives in Street, Somerset, and is self employed working in woodland management and arboriculture. He has now started a small nursery growing amenity trees.

The threats discussed at the conference included Acute Oak Decline  (AOD) - which could change the face of  the UK landscape in much the same way that Dutch Elm Disease did - Sudden Oak Death, Oak Processionary Moth, Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner and bleeding canker.

Dr Joan Webber, Principal Pathologist for Forest Research, warned that introductions of new pests and diseases appeared to be "increasing in tempo", and the varied range of environments where trees are grown makes early detection and eradication of any introduced organisms much more difficult.

Full details of the speakers and their presentations can be found on

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