Killer fungus attacks UK Christmas trees

Killer fungus attacks UK Christmas treesPA

Britain's favourite non-drop Christmas tree, the Nordmann Fir, is being attacked by a mysterious fungus that causes the needles to drop off completely.

The condition, called current season needle necrosis (CSNN), cause needles to turn yellow in July, brown in August and then drop off completely. It has affected fir trees in the UK and Europe for 20 years, but was first noticed in Britain three years ago. It has since spread around the country.

The Daily Mail reports that one of Britain's biggest growers, H. A. Trim, which farms 600,000 of the tress in Kent and Surrey, have already lost hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of trees.

According to The Telegraph, relatively few trees have been hit this year. However, more than 150 growers have been affected, with the majority losing up to three per cent of their stock. Some others have reported that more than 15 per cent of their stock has been lost, while one farmer lost a third of his crop. As a result, there are fears that Christmas trees could be more expensive than usual this year. And, as no fungicide has yet been found to stop the disease, it could also affect future crops.

Harry Brightwell, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, told The Telegraph: "We'd like to reassure people not to be concerned as they trees they purchase should stay green and healthy during the festive period."

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Killer fungus attacks UK Christmas trees

Grand-Hornu, Bois-du-Luc, Bois du Cazier and Blegny-Mine in Wallonia form a 170km strip crossing the east to west of Belgium and consist of the best-preserved 19th and 20th-century coal-mining sites in the country. The four sites offer an insight into all aspects of Wallonia's heritage and represent the intense migration flows involving Flemish, Polish, Italian, Spanish, Green, Moroccan and Turkish workers.

Older than the Himalaya mountains and recognised as one of the world's eight 'hottest hotspots' of biological diversity, India's Western Ghats mountain chain includes some of the best non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests anywhere. Its high montane forest ecosystems influence the Indian monsoon weather pattern and moderate the region's tropical climate, representing one of the best examples of the monsoon system on the planet. The Western Ghats are home to at least 325 globally threatened flowers, plants, birds, reptiles and fish species.

The elaborately decorated farmhouses of Halsingland in central Sweden portray the region's timber building tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. They reflect how independent farmers used their wealth to build new homes which they styled using a fusion of folk art and design favoured by the landed gentry of the time, Baroque and Rococo. There are seven of the timber houses listed as a World Heritage Site, which were decorated by known and unknown artists.

Characterised by spectacular rock pillars that reach a height of 100m along the banks of the Lena River, the Lena Pillars Nature Park is less than a day's boat ride from the city of Yakutsk. The pillars were formed by the region's extreme climate, with an annual temperature range of almost 100C - from -60C in winter to 40C in summer! The park is also home to many Cambrian fossil remains of various species.

Extensively fortified from the 17th to 19th centuries, the town of Elvas in Portugal contains barracks and other military buildings, churches and monasteries. It contains remains dating back to the 10th century and its fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640. The Dutch-designed fortifications comprise 12 forts in an irregular polygon, roughly centred on the castle and making use of the landscape and hills.

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Morocco's capital city Rabat features royal and administrative areas, residential and commercial developments, and the Jardins d'Essis botanical and pleasure gardens in the new town, which was conceived and built under the French Protectorate from 1912 to the 1930s. The older parts of Rabat date back to the 12th century and include the Hassan Mosque from 1184 and the Almohad ramparts and gates. Although often overlooked while Marrakech gets all the attention, Rabat has plenty to offer visitors who love a mixture of the old and new.

Water temples and rice terraces are the heart of the water-management system called the subak, which dates back to the ninth century in Bali. The cultural philosophy of the subak brings together the realms of the spirit, the human world and nature, and came from the cultural exchange between Bali and India over the past 2,000 years, which has shaped the landscape of the island. The democratic and egalitarian farming practices of the subak system have enabled the people of Bali to become the most prolific rice growers in the archipelago.

The UNESCO site in Rio de Janeiro includes some of the city's most famous landmarks: the Botanical Gardens established in 1808, the celebrated Christ statue, the Tijuca National Park's mountains down to the sea and the hills around Guanabara Bay. Rio has also been recognised for the artistic inspiration it has given musicians, landscapers and urbanists.

Dotted with 445 uninhabited limestone islands of volcanic origin, Rock Islands Southern Lagoon in Palau is a weird and wonderful site displaying unique mushroom-like shapes in turquoise lagoons. Its beauty is heightened by a complex reef system featuring over 385 coral species. A large diversity of plants, birds and marina animals, such as dugong and more than 13 shark species are found here. One of the islands' most famous attractions is the marine lake Jellyfish Lake, where you can find stingless jellyfish which are only known to Palau.

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