17 November 2000
Orchards ‘ignored’ as wildlife havens

By FWi staff

OLD orchards are some of the best places in Britain for attracting wildlife, but have been ignored by scientists, reports The Independent.

Conservationists devising biodiversity action plans a few years ago overlooked orchards, claims Roger Key, senior invertebrate ecologist at English Nature.

Badgers, stoats, weasels, bats, bullfinches, linnets, songthrushes, numerous species of moth, bee, beetle and orchids are some of the inhabitants of mature orchards.

But in recent years, many old orchards have been lost to subsidised crops and development.

Environmental charity Common Ground has campaigned for a revival of orchards and this month publishes The Common Ground Book of Orchards.

Sue Clifford of Common Ground says: “We must find ways to continue the close and gentle relationship we have courted with local orchards.

“In many counties they are undoubtedly among the last places where biodiversity really is exactly that.”