Horse chestnut tree, Aesculus hippocastanum, Suffolk, England UK leaf miner insect, Cameraria ohridella, damage to leaves.

Horse chestnut tree added to ‘at risk’ list of trees

The European Red List of Trees has been published, with horse chestnut appearing under 'vulnerable'

The European Red List of Trees, which is published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has been published, warning of scores of trees that are at threat.

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Included on this year’s list is the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), a tree synonymous with autumn and conkers.

The list blames invasive species, unsustainable logging and urban development for the decline in tree health and trees and  58 per cent of Europe’s 454 endemic tree species  are on the ‘at risk’ list.

The horse chestnut has been assessed as “vulnerable” following declines caused by the leaf-miner moth (Cameraria ohridella). The moth is an invasive species which has caterpillars that feed inside the leaves and damage them. It is thought to have first appeared in the Balkans before spreading across Europe.

‘Vulnerable’ is the risk beneath endangered and critically endangered.

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Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN Red List Unit said: “Measures for conserving these threatened species, and many other overlooked species highlighted in the European Red List assessments, need to be integrated into regular conservation planning and land management.”