Diseases affecting different UK tree species have been shown to have a multiplying effect on the loss of associated biodiversity, according to new research published in the Journal of Ecology by James Hutton Institute scientists and partners in the UK and Portugal.
In a study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Ecology, the research team reveals that the decline of ash and oak trees may affect more species than just the ones that only use oak and ash as their habitat.
In the UK, the common ash hosts 45 species that are only found on ash trees, and sessile and pedunculate oaks host 326 species that are only found on oak trees. However, if both tree species were to be lost, the number of species at risk is 512 due to an additional 141 species that only use oak and ash.
Lead author of the study Dr Ruth Mitchell, an ecologist within the James Hutton Institute’s Ecological Sciences department, said: “When a plant pest or pathogen kills a plant, particularly when it results in the wide-spread loss of one plant species, it also impacts on those species such as insects, mosses, lichens, mammals, birds and fungi that use that plant species for feeding, for nesting or as a living space.
Continue reading at British Ecological Society
Image via British Ecological Society