News

New Measures To Stop Ips Spread

The Forestry Commission is expanding the current eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) demarcated area in England following findings on Norway spruce in East Anglia.

By Wendy Necar · June 5, 2024

Above: Ips tyopgraphus. Credit Gyorgy Csoka, Hungary Forest Research Institute

From Wednesday 12 June, an extended demarcated area (DMA) will cover parts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. This is in addition to existing demarcated areas in Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, City of London, Greater London, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and Essex.  A new map is available here of the extended demarcated area.

Ips typographus is a serious pest of spruce trees in Europe and was first identified in the UK in Kent in 2018. It prefers stressed or dying trees but under the right conditions it can attack healthy trees. It has the potential to cause significant damage to Great Britain’s forestry and timber industries.

The measures aim to prevent potential spread of the pest, in line with the eradication action taken by the Forestry Commission to manage outbreaks.

Felling and Movement

Within the demarcated areas, the felling and movement of all spruce material, including trees and wood with bark, isolated bark, and wood chip with bark, is prohibited unless authorised by the Forestry Commission. Woodland managers must provide written notification to the Forestry Commission if they intend to fell or kill spruce  (the genus Picea A. Dietr) over three metres in height. Full guidance of the requirements are available on here.

Additionally, processing of spruce material which has originated in the demarcated area may only be undertaken at premises authorised by the Forestry Commission to receive this material. There is also a prohibition of susceptible material being left in situ, unless authorised in writing by a plant health inspector.

Be Vigilant

All landowners, managers and timber processors are urged to remain vigilant for Ips typographus and check the health of spruce trees on their land especially as temperatures rise and we enter the flight season. Any suspected findings of the beetle can be reported using the online portal TreeAlert.

Christopher Williams, Royal Forestry Society Chief Executive, said: “ As foresters, woodland owners and managers we need to do all we can to prevent Ips typographus becoming established in the UK.

“I urge all to be extra vigilant. Spruce is a mainstay of homegrown timber.  The outbreak in East Anglia has impacted Norway Spruce but Ips is also at home on Sitka and other spruce. It has the potential to do serious damage to our home grown timber production if it is not eradicated and controlled.

“A series of storms over recent years, including Storm Arwen in 2021, have left many forested and wooded areas with spruce in a weakened  and damaged state – and these are just the conditions where Ips typographus can thrive.

Ips typographus, like other bark beetles, live most of their life under the bark of trees eating the wood just underneath.  They leave a very distinctive symmetrical fan like pattern of damage hidden under the bark, known as a gallery. We urge anyone who thinks they might have spotted an outbreak in spruce to report it via the TreeAlert. We need to work together as a sector to tackle this threat.”

Forestry Commission’s Andrea Deol said: “ Following a report of Ips typographus to the Forestry Commission in East Anglia, we conducted a swift investigation including rapid eradication measures, alongside wider environment surveillance to determine the scale of the issue and identify additional suitable management actions.

“All landowners, managers and timber processors should remain vigilant for Ips typographus. It is important for landowners to continue to check the health of spruce trees on their land, this is particularly important now we are entering the next flight season.”

Authorisations

For authorisation to commence felling, move or process spruce material that has originated in the demarcated area please contact ipstypographus.authorisation@forestrycommission.gov.uk.

Landowners and managers served with a Statutory Plant Health Notice due to an outbreak on their site may be eligible for grants to support felling and restocking activity through the Tree Health Pilot.

The Forestry Commission is encouraging landowners to proactively remove spruce from the South East of England and replant with other non-susceptible species.

Webinar

A webinar for landowners, managers, agents, contractors, and timber processors within the East of England who now fall under the extended DMA, will take place online on 11 June. Those wishing to attend can visit eventbrite to book their place.

Also read: Five Surprising Things About Ips Typographus,  a blog by Anna Platoni, the Advisory Entomologist at Forest Research.