A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Friday, December 05, 2003

And some folk worry about GM.....

As Lord May of the Royal Society has been at pains to point out on several occasions this year, while folk witter on about GM crops, which are likely to be no threat at all, biological devastation continues apace through the virtually unregulated and unmonitored introduction of non-native organisams via pet shops and garden centres. The ever-alert Alex Kirby rightly records the latest threat, 'Mystery oak killer hits UK trees' (BBC Online Science News, December 4):

"The fungus, known as Phytophthora ramorum, has killed 80% of one oak species in the western US.

It was discovered last year in viburnum plants in British garden centres, and there have been more than 300 subsequent outbreaks in plant nurseries, and in some wild rhododendrons. "

In November, the disease was found in an introduced tree, when it was identified in a southern red oak in Sussex, a species imported from the US. More worrying still, it now appears to have been recorded in a truly native British beech tree (Fagus sylvatica).

Thus, while our ever-concerned greens strain at their virtual GM gnats, the real beasties are rampant through the back door.

Philip, less than oakay!

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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