THE Welsh Government has announced a revised strategy to curtail the spread of a tree disease which has been laying waste to the country's woodlands.

Phytophthora ramorum (P.ramorum) is a fungus-like pathogen that affects a range of plant and tree species, including coniferous larch trees.

Large sections of woodland, including areas of the forestry in Cwmcarn Forest Drive, have been felled to prevent the spread of the disease.


The majority of southern Wales was declared a Core Disease Zone (CDZ) by the Welsh Government in 2014.

This included all of Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, and Torfaen; as well as much of western Newport.

Woodland on the CDZ boundary was targeted to prevent the disease spreading into uninfected areas, such as those in Monmouthshire and eastern Newport.

But this hasn't prevented at least 10 felling notices being issued to landowners in the past two years after P.ramorum was found in their trees.

This included for an area of Wentwood Forest – Wales’ largest ancient woodland – approximately the same size as 75 football pitches.

Wentwood has been struck by the disease three times in the last six years.

Woodland Trust, which owns the affected area of forest, said in December 2018 the area would be re-planted with native broad-leaf species of trees.

Now, the Welsh Government is introducing a second CDZ, covering much of Mid-Wales, to minimise the northward spread of the disease.

Commenting on the move, Lesley Griffiths, Wales' minister for environment, energy and rural affairs, said: “High quality woodland ecosystems can provide real benefits both on a local and national scale. We know that Wales’ woodlands enhance our landscape and increase biodiversity and we are committed to ensuring ecosystem services have the ability to respond to climate change and support woodland based industries

“We recognise pests, pathogens and invasive non-native species have significant potential to impact on the health of trees and woodlands in Wales.

"The refreshed strategy will play a key role in minimising the social, environmental and economic impacts of P. ramorum in the CDZ2 area whilst maintaining our commitment to managing the spread of the disease.