BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  UK: Scotland
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Pigs provide boring solution
Boars in woodland
The woodland has been largely cleared by the boars
A new weapon is being used in Scotland in the fight against the spread of rhododendrons - wild boar.

The colourful bushes block the light and prevent other plants and trees from seeding.

A herd of wild boar is being used in an experiment on a woodland site near Buckie, in Moray.

The animals scrape around in the ground, destroying rhododendrons by eating their roots.

In just three weeks, they have partially cleared the one hectare site.


We need to make sure they actually dig the stuff up and don't just trample it, otherwise it will grow back with a vengeance

Phil Whitfield
Forest district manager

Forestry Enterprise said the boars, which are on loan from a local farm, could reduce the need for chemical methods to remove rhododendrons.

The tamed animals are close relatives of the boars highly prized in southern Europe for their ability to root up truffles.

Forest district manager Phil Whitfield said the aim was to regenerate forest areas on a small scale to create a more natural woodland environment.

Three enclosures

The experiment, which has been running for three weeks, followed a successful three-year scheme to use the pigs for preparing small areas of woodland for re-seeding.

They have been placed in three half-acre enclosures containing rhododendrons and will be closely monitored to see if they are suitable for the job.

Mr Whitfield said: "We've got some experience that they like rooting things up, but we're not sure if it will work yet and there's a lot of things to consider in the longer term.

Rhododendron
Rhododendron roots are a tasty target

"We have to leave them in the area long enough to do the job, but they could also damage the trees.

"We need to make sure they actually dig the stuff up and don't just trample it, otherwise it will grow back with a vengeance.

"There is also a concern that we make sure they don't eat the rhododendrons as they're highly poisonous and we don't want them to overly enrich the area with their manure."

Mr Whitfield said it would be several months before it was clear whether the experiment was worth developing further and three years before it could be judged a success or failure.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Eric Crockart reports
"It could be a neat solution to a costly problem"
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories