Long look at ash

The Scottish environment minister (“Fourfold increase in deadly tree disease”, your report 28 February) is probably correct in predicting the extinction of ash in this country, but wishful in her thinking that we will find resistance among older trees; they survive longer after infection because of their size, not their genetic origins.

But the unspoken realisation that future generations will not be able to enjoy this iconic plant should make us all the more determined to provide them with the tools to repopulate the country with it, albeit perhaps 50 years hence.

A proposal to collect seeds from older trees throughout Scotland, using volunteers and techniques for cryopreservation of seed pioneered in the US, was turned-down by the authorities in 2013 as being too expensive.

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Now that Aileen McLeod is less sanguine than her predecessor about the future, perhaps she would care to re-assess those proposals so that, if appropriate, they can be wheeled out the next time ash produces seed?

JE Pratt

West Linton