Staffan Lindgren, Professor of Forest Insects from the University of Northern British Columbia, shares with us his latest research on the pine beetle plague, which has taken down nearly 30 billion conifers from Alaska to Mexico, and is now making a rapid advance over the Rocky Mountains to the rest of the continent – with big implications for carbon in our planet. He explains how the beetle has benefited from milder conditions due to global warming, and why some trees defend themselves better against it than others.
Tony Kirkham is the head of the Arboretum at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew where he is in charge of more than 14,000 trees. He is also one of Kew’s most accomplished plant collectors. He fears that because of global warming, over a very short period the distinctive treescape of Britain will change and that it will start to resemble far more closely that of Mediterranean countries and North America.
The historical novelist Tracy Chevalier shares with us some of her latest writings about trees. She is a co-editor and writer of Why Willows Weep, a collection of short stories by 19 acclaimed authors. In her modern fable, Why Birches Have Silver Bark, she suggests we learn to appreciate trees and that we see them as more than just ornaments or ways of offsetting carbon emission.Why Willows Weep
SIXTY SECOND IDEA TO CHANGE THE WORLD
In her 60 second idea, historical novelist Tracy Chevalier suggests that everyone who's born should have a tree planted for them, and that once they're old enough for the responsibility, they must visit it regularly, arrange for its pruning and raking, and make decisions about its welfare - very much as if it's their child. That way, not only would a lot of trees be planted, but it would help us understand the effect of the choices we make to do with our environment, and teach us to care for the natural world on our doorstep.
In Next Week’s Programme
We try to unravel all kinds of mysteries, from the mystery of quantum physics with pioneer of quantum computing David Deutsch, to that of love with anthropologist Helen Fischer and film making with Hollywood scriptwriter Jonah Nolan.