Projects

Britain has more ancient oak trees than the rest of Europe combined, making the oak a quintessential part of our national identity.

Action Oak works with owners and managers of oak trees and woodlands to help protect oak trees from a range of threats. We also fund research to improve understanding of the threats to our oak trees and identify priority areas for action. Discover more about Action Oak’s partnership projects.

FUTURE OAK: Characterising and engineering the oak microbiome to future-proof an arboreal icon

Tree declines caused by climate perturbation, anthropogenic stressors and disease outbreaks have resulted in recent forest mega-disturbances and are a major global concern. Until recently, progress has been hampered by a lack of high-throughput analytical approaches for systems-based analysis of the multidimensional factors that drive declines. Our previous research on Acute Oak Decline, a complex decline disease of native British oak, has highlighted how microbiome shifts to a ‘pathobiome’, are associated with tree disease.

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Bacteria: Advancement of Control and Knowledge to Save Threatened Oak and Protect them for the Future Generations (Bac-Stop)

The Bac-Stop project is about stopping the spread of pathogenic bacteria that are causing damage and death of many native British oak trees. The project has four work packages with the objectives: WP1: To investigate (a) beetle vectoring of pathogenic bacteria; (b) molecular and/or chemical factors that elicit the upregulation of bacterial virulence genes and (c) influence of bacterial volatiles on beetle behaviour to determine the role of the beetle in AOD.

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Heart Rot fungal community research

Oak trees are long-lived, the oldest being over 1000 years old, but that does not mean that they are immune to decay. On the contrary, decay of wood in the centres of trunks eventually causes hollowing leaving a relatively narrow outer band of functional sapwood to support the canopy physically and physiologically. This decay is called heart-rot, and in oak (Quercus robur and Q. petraea) about 50% have hollows by the time they are 200 – 300 years old, although many of these trees have no external signs of internal decay.  All are hollowing by 400 years.

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Oak powdery mildew and tree health in the Celtic rainforest

Investigating the distribution and spread of oak powdery mildew in oak woodlands across Wales.

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Oak trees - did you know?

Discover some amazing facts and figures about the Great British oak!

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Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR)

Resistance stragtegies of oak trees in the arms race with pathogens

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Understanding the critical roles of bacteria and fungi in oak health and disease

Bangor University has been working for almost ten years in collaboration with Forest Research and other institutions to understand the role of both beneficial and pathogenic microbes in oak health and disease.

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Plant Diseases and Biosecurity

Plant Diseases and Biosecurity is a new publication exploring the big picture of plant health and it’s importance to sustainable agriculture and protection of our environment. 

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PuRpOsE: uncovering the biodiversity of oak trees

The BBSRC funded PuRpOsE project has uncovered just how many species use our native oak trees. 

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Enhanced acorn production to regenerate native oak woodlands in the UK

Overview

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FUTURE OAK: Characterising and engineering the oak microbiome to future-proof an arboreal icon

Tree declines caused by climate perturbation, anthropogenic stressors and disease outbreaks have resulted in recent forest mega-disturbances and are a major global concern. Until recently, progress has been hampered by a lack of high-throughput analytical approaches for systems-based analysis of the multidimensional factors that drive declines. Our previous research on Acute Oak Decline, a complex decline disease of native British oak, has highlighted how microbiome shifts to a ‘pathobiome’, are associated with tree disease.

Read more

Bacteria: Advancement of Control and Knowledge to Save Threatened Oak and Protect them for the Future Generations (Bac-Stop)

The Bac-Stop project is about stopping the spread of pathogenic bacteria that are causing damage and death of many native British oak trees. The project has four work packages with the objectives: WP1: To investigate (a) beetle vectoring of pathogenic bacteria; (b) molecular and/or chemical factors that elicit the upregulation of bacterial virulence genes and (c) influence of bacterial volatiles on beetle behaviour to determine the role of the beetle in AOD.

Read more

Heart Rot fungal community research

Oak trees are long-lived, the oldest being over 1000 years old, but that does not mean that they are immune to decay. On the contrary, decay of wood in the centres of trunks eventually causes hollowing leaving a relatively narrow outer band of functional sapwood to support the canopy physically and physiologically. This decay is called heart-rot, and in oak (Quercus robur and Q. petraea) about 50% have hollows by the time they are 200 – 300 years old, although many of these trees have no external signs of internal decay.  All are hollowing by 400 years.

Read more