The recent spate of relentlessly wet weather has prompted Forestry Commission Scotland to remind people working in or visiting a woodland or forest to ‘Keep it Clean’.

The Commission’s Keep it Clean biosecurity campaign aims to help prevent the spread of tree pests and diseases, which can be carried from one location to another in mud and forest debris including on boots, bike wheels, dogs paws, horses hooves and tools.
Dr Anna Brown, Forestry Commission Scotland’s Head of Tree Health, said;
“It’s great to know that even in this foul weather there are some hardy souls prepared to venture out and enjoy Scotland’s forests.
“However, they will be faced with some pretty tough conditions. There will be some trails that will be flooded or washed out and others that will in part be very muddy – and that’s why we’re reminding people to Keep it Clean.
“There’ll be no avoiding the mud – in fact you can get as muddy as you like – but don’t take it from one place to another.
“All we’re asking is that when people get home, they take the time to make sure that their footwear, bike tyres, kit, shoes and walking poles – and even their dog’s paws – are cleaned and mud free before venturing out to another location.
“It’s a small thing to do – a matter of minutes – but it could have a big impact on the health of your local forest or woodland and those across Scotland.”
The spores that infect trees can live for a very long time. So even if it’s been months since you were last out in the woods, it’s always best to clean your kit before you head out.
You don’t need much to ‘Keep it Clean’ – a stiff brush for boots and an old towel for paws should do the trick. If you don’t have a hose to wash down your bike tyres, a brush should also work there.
Keeping it Clean will help to slow the spread of tree pests and diseases; as well as helping to keep our forests healthy, it will buy us time to research and develop other actions that we can take to ensure the long term health of our woodlands.
Everyone working together to adopt new habits will have a positive impact on the forests we know and love.

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