Monday, 23 September 2013

Natives vs aliens: David Pearman on Countryfile, BBC1. 

David Pearman (left) talking to BSBI Projects Officer Bob Ellis
Recorders Conference 2013
Image: L. Farrell
Following his recent broadcast on Radio 4's 'Costing the Earth', David Pearman (New Atlas co-editor and BSBI past President) is to appear on 'Countryfile' on BBC1, talking about the effects of invasive species. 

The programme-makers were interested in "how native plants are spreading, and how this is affecting threatened plant species". They wondered if alien species may "only be making a bad situation worse" and if, in many areas, "the spread of native plants may be more of an issue".

This subject has long been of interest to David, co-editor of BSBI's New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora (2002) which mapped plant distributions in the two countries. David, who is now based in Cornwall, told me, "the 'Countryfile' people came down and filmed me with [presenter] Tom Heap on Monday, on the coast north of Post Isaac in a gorse-filled valley by the sea on a very windy day!" 


David (left) with New Atlas co-editors Chris Preston & Trevor Dines.
Image: L. Marsh
The results are scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, 29th September, but in the meantime, click here.to read 'Alien Invaders', a BSBI discussion paper co-authored by David.

Ian Denholm also anticipated the media's interest in this subject when he chose 'Alien invaders and native thugs' as the theme for his presentation at the launch last May of the State of Nature report, to which BSBI contributed. 


Gunnera tinctoria on Achil Island, western Ireland
Image: M. Sheehy-Skeffington
He showed journalists and conservationists some dramatic images, sent to him by BSBI recorders, of how Gunnera tinctoria is running amok in Ireland and the Hebrides

Ian also expressed his personal view that "more work is needed to establish the threat that natives pose, and that was the proposed project at a recent meeting I attended of BSBI's Records Committee".