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10/08/2010

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 10 August 2010

Bovine TB is a major problem for dairy farmers in many parts of the UK, particularly Wales and the West Country.

Cattle with the disease have to be slaughtered, costing millions in compensation. The disease is carried by badgers and many have argued for a cull of these creatures as a result. But will it work?

In this week's Home Planet, recorded in front of an audience in West Wales, the panel discuss the science behind the badger cull and alternatives to killing these protected creatures.

The banks of many rivers and streams in Wales are covered by a sweet smelling, pretty but unwanted invader, Himalayan Balsam. Introduced in the middle of the 19th century it has spread rapidly, choking out other native plants. But is it the menace it's made out to be or would removing it do more harm than good?

The panel also discuss scallop dredging in the Special Area of Conservation in Cardigan Bay; whether the current climb back to economic growth is good for conservation and why fungi come in such a range of colours.

On this week's panel are marine biologist Dr Helen Scales, conservationist Derek Moore and Professor Philip Stott, an environmental scientist from the University of London.

Contact:

Home Planet
BBC Radio 4
PO Box 3096
Brighton
BN1 1PL

Email: home.planet@bbc.co.uk
Telephone: 08700 100 400

Presenter: Richard Daniel

Producer: Toby Murcott
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.

  • Guest: Dr Helen Scales

    Dr Scales is a freelance writer, broadcaster & marine biologist based in Cambridge, UK.

    Dr Helen Scales
  • Guest: Derek Moore

    Chair of the Welsh Ornithological Society.

    Derek Moore
  • Guest: Professor Philip Stott

    A Parliament of Things is a collection of essays on nature and society by Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography in the University of London.

    Professor Philip Stott - A Parliament of Things
  • What are the panel’s view on culling badgers to control bovine TB?

  • Useful link: Pembrokeshire badger cull halted after appeal

    BBC News report on the recent court judgement stopping the Pembrokeshire badger cull.

    Pembrokeshire badger cull halted after appeal
  • Useful Link: Bovine TB

    Web page for the Welsh Assembly’s bovine TB eradication programme including information on the proposed badger cull and response to the court decision.

    Bovine TB
  • Useful Link: The Badger Trust

    The Badger Trust, the group that mounted the court appeal against the proposed badger cull.

    The Badger Trust
  • Useful Link: Bovine TB and badgers

    UK Government Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs on bovine TB and badgers.

    Bovine TB and badgers
  • What damage is scallop dredging causing to Cardigan Bay?

  • Useful Link: Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

    Information on the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation.

    Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
  • Useful Link: Assessment of offshore habitats in the Cardigan Bay SAC

    A report into the habitats found in Cardigan Bay with reference to scallop fishing.

    Assessment of offshore habitats in the Cardigan Bay SAC (pdf file)
  • Useful Link: Scallop Dredging Footage

    A short video showing the close up effects of scallop dredging on the sea floor.

    Scallop Dredging Footage
  • Useful Links: The Scallop Fishing (Wales) (No.2) Order 2010

    The most recent order restricting scallop fishing in Cardigan Bay.

    The Scallop Fishing (Wales) (No.2) Order 2010
  • Is Himalayan Balsam a significant problem and should it be controlled in the UK?

  • Useful Link: Himalayan balsam

    Information and advice on Himalayan Balsam from the Royal Horticultural Society.

    Himalayan balsam
  • Useful Link: Explosive seeds video

    Short video showing how the Himalayan Balsam seed pods explode and spread the seeds.

    Explosive seeds video
  • Useful Link: Seed Firing Pod video

    Short video showing how the Himalayan Balsam seed pods explode and spread the seeds.

    Seed Firing Pod video
  • Useful Link: The effect of removal of Himalayan balsam on plant species diversity

    The effect of removal of Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera on plant species diversity of invaded riparian vegetation in the central Czech Republic. A summary of research conducted in the Czech Republic on the effects of removing Himalayan Balsam.

    The effect of removal of Himalayan balsam on plant species diversity
  • Useful Link: GB Non-native Species Coordinating Mechanism

    The Non-Native Species database of the UK Government Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs which includes information on Himalayan Balsam and many other invasive species in the UK.

    GB Non-native Species Coordinating Mechanism
  • Why do fungi come in such a range of different colours?

  • Useful Link: Ionizing Radiation and the Growth of Melanized Fungi

    The research article describing the discovery that dark fungi appear to be able to use radiation to promote their own growth.

    Ionizing Radiation and the Growth of Melanized Fungi
  • Useful Link: Rogers Mushrooms

    A website with pictures of many different types of mushroom.

    Rogers Mushrooms
  • Useful Link: Glow-in-the-Dark Mushrooms Discovered

    A news item reporting the discovery of more species of mushroom that glow in the dark including a picture.

    Glow-in-the-Dark Mushrooms Discovered
  • Production Credits

    Home Planet is produced by Toby Murcott and is a Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.

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