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2,500+ people vote for the UK's favourite tree species in Biology Week poll - Royal Society of Biology

The Horse Chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) has been crowned the UK’s Favourite Tree after winning a public poll of over 2,500 votes in Biology Week 2017.

The tree, surged ahead of the other contenders, securing more than a quarter of all votes cast.

The Horse Chestnut was introduced to the UK and is a well-loved feature of parks, gardens and village greens. The tree is famous for its seeds, which are used in the game of conkers.

Dr Laura Bellingan FRSB, RSB Director of Policy and Public Affairs, said of the result: “Trees are a valuable part of our culture and economy as well as the environment. They provide us with cleaner air, building materials, food and fuel, flood management; they are home to a wide range of wildlife, from insects to mammals; and they are beautiful. Urban trees can brighten up our cities, whilst many woodlands are beneficial and relaxing environments for thousands of visitors.  However, trees are at risk from a range of threats, including pests and disease. This includes a number of iconic species and we need to be alert to the possibility that our wild and green spaces could be significantly altered. It was tremendous to see so many people join the conversation and take part in this year’s poll.”

The Horse Chestnut beat 14 other trees to claim the title.


Help protect our amphibians from disease - Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust

The emergence of diseases is increasingly recognised as a threat to amphibians. In 2013 researchers in the Netherlands described a new type of fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, often called “Bsal”, that eventually led to a 99% decline in fire salamanders in that country. Since then, we are gradually learning more about the fungus and the disease it can cause.

So far as we know, this fungus does not occur in the wild in the UK. It has unfortunately been found in some captive amphibian collections in the UK, as well as in the international pet trade. This is clearly a perilous situation, with the risk of the fungus being introduced to the wild via traded or captive animals.

Click through for information summarising and providing links to further advice on what you can do to limit the risk of this pathogen entering the UK and causing disease. 

If you see signs of sick or dead amphibians, please report them to the Garden Wildlife Health project, which acts as the UK reporting centre for this project.


Scientific Publication

Franziska Komossa, Emma H. van der Zanden, Catharina J.E. Schulp, Peter H. Verburg, Mapping landscape potential for outdoor recreation using different archetypical recreation user groups in the European Union, Ecological Indicators, Volume 85, February 2018, Pages 105-116, ISSN 1470-160X, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.10.015. 


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