Still, what is done is done. We have got to find a solution. There are obvious implications as Ash is a major element of the landscape. As I drove down to Long Crendon yesterday I found myself scanning the landscape for Ash trees. On the limestone this is really a very important tree both in a landscape and a broader ecological context. Ash woodlands are commonplace on the limestone and many support very rich assemblages of saproxylic hoverflies. So we face a major crisis.
From a hoverfly perspective maybe the way forward is to develop a strategy to provide growing replacements before we loose the Ash? If so, which species should we use? I am amazed to say that I wonder whether we should be looking at Sycamore? Obviously there is a case to be made against Sycamore but it offers some important advantages:
- It is fast growing and appears to create dead wood situations similar to those that are offered by Ash.
- It seems to support sap runs with similar properties to those of Ash.
- The bark appears to have a pH that is favourable to many lichens.
- It will grow in many of the locations that can be expected to be vacated by Ash.
- It is not noted for its pests and is a vigorous, tough and fast growing species.
- It supports good numbers of aphids and potentially rot hole and dead wood hoverflies.