Ash Dieback on Sample Points of the National Forest Inventory in South Western Germany
The alien invasive pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus causes large-scale decline of European ash (Fraxinus excelsior). We assessed ash dieback in Germany and identified factors that were associated with this disease. Our assessment was based on a 2015 sampling of national forest inventory plots that represent a supra-regional area. In the time from 2012 to 2015, the number of regrown ash trees corresponded to only 42% of the number of trees that had been harvested or died. Severe defoliation was recorded for almost 40% of the living trees in 2015, and more than half of the crowns mainly consisted of epicormic shoots. Necroses were present in 24% of root collars. A total of 14% of the trees were in sound condition, which sum up to only 7% of the timber volume. On average, trees of a higher social status or with a larger diameter at breast height were healthier. Collar necroses were less prevalent at sites with a higher inclination of terrain, but there was no evidence for an influence of climatic variables on collar necroses. The disease was less severe at sites with smaller proportions of the basal area of ash compared to the total basal area of all trees and in the north-eastern part of the area of investigation. The regeneration of ash decreased drastically.