While fire and wind cause damage to Irish forests, introduced fungal diseases and insect pests are the two greatest threats. Ash dieback – Chalara fraxinea and Phytophthora ramorum – have placed the future of ash and larch in doubt. As a result, ash and Japanese larch are no longer grant aided by the Forest Service.

Other species are also at risk but we rarely hear about them simply because they are not important forest trees. For example, Lawson cypress trees have been killed by the pathogen Phytophthora lateralis, while the introduction of the eucalyptus leaf beetle pest – Paropsisterna selmani – into Ireland poses a significant threat to our commercial foliage, wood biomass and processing industries.