Nature at risk
The United Kingdom is currently experiencing a number of problems affecting nature and this is triggering discussions among policy-makers, scientists and practioners as to how to best tackle the situation.
A fungal disease Chalara fraxinea causing ‘Ash dieback’ has arrived in the UK and experts are predicting the loss of the country’s 80 million Ash tree(Fraxinus excelsior) population, which makes up some 30% of the native tree cover of the nation. The UK’s oaks are also being troubled by a phenomenon known as oak decline which been known in the UK for nearly one hundred years. However, in the last few years there has been an alarming increase in the number of trees affected by acute oak decline – a fast-acting problem thought to be caused by bacteria.
Also hitting the headlines is the postponement of the planned cull of Badger (Meles meles) in two counties in England. Apparently new surveys showed that there were twice the number of badgers present in the target areas than previously thought and, as the cull was being paid for by farmers rather than the State, this made it too expensive to undertake. The UK Government has announced that the cull will take place next year. Meanwhile, trials are being carried out to test a vaccine on badgers which could help in reduce the spread of tuberculosis in cattle.