David Bellamy, Japanese Knotweed and CO2…
David Bellamy was a personal hero of mine and was responsible for my interest in botany as a young boy. His enthusiasm for science, plants and ecology led me to pursue a career in these fields of study. When I was first involved in Japanese knotweed eradication as a conservation volunteer, almost twenty years ago, it was David Bellamy who inspired me.
It is rather sad then that David Bellamy is currently about as popular as Japanese knotweed in the environmental assessment industry. In a recent article in the Telegraph he denies that manmade CO2 is a cause for concern. More worryingly, the article states that CO2 is an airborne fertilizer, which is good for plants. However, it is for this precise reason that increased CO2 is bad for plant ecology. Species like Japanese knotweed and other pioneering colonisers can make more effective use of available nutrients, like CO2, which can result in their out-competing native, less adaptive and less vigorous growing species. This can result in significant reductions in biodiversity.
We still don’t know enough about the effects of elevated CO2 and climate change on diverse plant communities, but we certainly know enough to discredit the simplistic and ill-considered views expressed by David Bellamy in the Telegraph article.