Forest cleared after deadly tree disease found
More than 100 hectares of forest in Northern Ireland are to be cleared to help stop the spread of a deadly tree disease.
An outbreak of the infection caused by Phytophthora ramorum has been confirmed in larch trees at Castlewellan Forest Park, Co Down, the Forest Service said.
Chief executive Malcolm Beatty said: "We are very disappointed about this outbreak in Castlewellan as it is further evidence that the disease is continuing to spread.
"We will clear over 100 hectares of forest to reduce the risk of the disease spreading to other forest species, and to recover as much of the timber as is possible."
The disease was identified when many trees that were apparently healthy last autumn showed symptoms during the spring. Many have already died. Action to fell the trees is under way because this is the most effective way of preventing further spread.
Trees develop lesions and their shoots and foliage become wilted.
Visitors to the park have been urged to make sure their feet are clear of soil before visiting other areas to prevent spread of the infection.