Entitled ‘The Dying Embers – the Demise of the Ash’, the exhibition runs from 1 November 2019 to 30 April 2020. Ash trees make up 28% of the canopy at Wytham, and the invasive fungal disease has been found there. It is only a matter of time before it kills most of the ashes, but in the meantime the Woods team are working with scientists at the University to track its spread and the effects it has on different ecosystems there; a new research group has been set up to do this, and its members will be contributing to the exhibition. Last year the Woods team launched their own ash dieback smartphone app, which enables members of the public to record sightings of the disease and makes the data available to scientists.
Caused by the wind-blown chalara fungus, ash dieback was first spotted In the UK in 2012 having crossed the channel. Ever since it has been spreading across southern Britain. It is likely to destroy most of the UK’s 90 million ash trees, and, and will have a comparable effect on the countryside as Dutch elm disease did in the 1970s. As well as looking at ash dieback and its effects, the exhibition will also examine the tree’s place in culture, folklore and the wider UK ecosystem.