The pine trees on the Chase are suffering from Dothistroma Needle Blight, also known as Red Band Needle Blight. This is a fungal pathogen that prevents trees retaining previous years needles and thus putting on much growth. 83% of the worlds Pine species are affected by this pathogen, the main species on the Chase are Scots Pine and Corsican Pine the latter being severely affected. The Chase has been infected for many years now, it’s just that this year is particularly noticeable due to favourable conditions for the pathogen being wet and warm summers. There is a plan to reduce the number of Pines on the Chase over the next few decades and replace them with other species. This will produce a more diverse woodland that will be resilient to future pests and pathogens, increase the quality of the wildlife habitat and make the woodland a more interesting place for people.
Courtesy of Scott Martin, Forestry Commision