UK Only: AshTag app launched to prevent spread of devastating tree disease – You can help

A devastating Ash Dieback disease that has already affected millions of trees on the continent and has led to a ban on imports coming into force is rippling into the UK.

You can help.

Ash dieback, is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea, and was last week found in the UK for the first time outside of plantations and nurseries in East Anglia.

If you live in the UK then you can help to map and help prevent the spread of the disease across the country.

A team of developers and academics rapidly created an app that smart phone owners could use to report suspected cases of infection. The AshTag app for IOS and Android devices allows users to submit photos and locations of sightings to a team who will refer them on to the Forestry Commission.

“Time is really of the essence, and we’re hoping that Apple will support us in rushing any updates through the App store,” said Toby Hammond, one of the team behind the app at the Adapt Low Carbon Group at the University of East Anglia. “As a child growing up in Norfolk I was well aware of the devastation wreaked by the Dutch elm disease. We hope that thousands of people, from school groups to dog walkers, will use the app help to spot and report any sightings of the ash dieback so the disease can be contained.”

It is looking good, the App was out in record time, Apple fasttracked it through their normally slow app review process.

Examples of other similar citizen-science crowdsourcing apps for wildlife include …

The bottom line here, the thing that makes all this truly cool, is that science is no longer something “they” do, it is now increasingly something that you can do as well.

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