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Science
NATURE
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PROGRAMME INFO
Monday 21:00-21:30
Nature offers a window on global natural history, providing a unique insight into the natural world, the environment, and the magnificent creatures that inhabit it.
nhuradio@bbc.co.uk

If you like natural history and you're interested in the environment, why not visit Radio 4's first ever interactive blog here.

You can read, watch and listen to natural history on the radio.

And being a blog, you can of course contribute to it...
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
 Listen to 30 April
PRESENTER
BRETT WESTWOOD
Brett Westwood
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Monday 30 April 2007
Brett and Harry planting a tree
Harry Green and Brett Westwood planting the new orchard at Tiddesley Wood Nature Reserve

The Plum Prospects for Orchard Conservation

Traditional orchards have suffered from a rapid and substantial decline over the last 50 years. It has been estimated that almost 60% of traditional orchards have been lost in that time in this country.

Traditional orchards differ from densely planted commercial orchards as they contain older, taller fruit trees, the grass pasture around them is usually grazed by cattle or sheep, the trees are more widely spaced and the orchards are not treated with chemicals or pesticides.
The loss of old orchards has been due to a demand for cheaper fruit imports and the land being used for housing development.

Traditional orchards with their ageing trees are very important for wildlife. Many insects need the decaying wood of the older, listing and fallen trees. One such insect is the Noble Chafer beetle, the larvae of which live in holes in trees feeding on the rotten wood. It has become an iconic, flagship species for traditional orchards and the surveys for its presence has led to more knowledge than ever before about all the different animals and plants that depend on orchards, some of which like the Noble Chafer are very rare.

The review of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan has allowed conservationists to put a case for traditional orchards to be given a listing as a priority habitat. While it does not give total protection, it will mean more funds, advice, and encouragement will be given to landowners to keep their old orchards and plant the much needed new, traditional orchards of the future.
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