FUTURE Trees Trust has announced that the Living Ash Project has been re-awarded funding.

The new five-year programme is the second phase of this project aiming to secure trees tolerant to ash dieback for future seed production. The work has again been funded by DEFRA in partnership with Forest Research, Fera Science (FERA) and Kew.

Earlier this year, Future Trees Trust and its partners completed phase 1 of the project by planting one of the last trees at an archive site of 3,000 trees in Hampshire. The selected trees have displayed some tolerance to ash dieback and have been planted as part of a pioneering project to tackle the devastating tree disease.

Future Trees Trust will continue to monitor the archive intended to provide the basis for a breeding programme of tolerant ash over time and will enable the development of orchards producing commercially available seed.

Fera Science Ltd is undertaking LC-MS (liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy) work – a type of chemical fingerprinting to ascertain tolerance in the selected trees – and Forest Research will undertake a series of controlled inoculations also to ascertain tolerance.

Kew will be researching methods of vegetative propagation to avoid the use of non-tolerant rootstocks when grafting tolerant trees.

Future Trees Trust will also maintain and monitor existing research trials for further tolerant trees.

Jo Clark, head of research at Future Trees Trust, said: “I am delighted we have secured another five-year contract with DEFRA to continue our vital work.”

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