Small Woodland Owners' Group


Topics that don't easily fit anywhere else!


Postby smudge » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:18 pm

On bbc last night a programme on the Oak tree fascinating insight into the life of an oak tree if you missed it you can watch it on BBC I. player
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:59 am

Re: bbc

Postby calvertwood » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:43 pm

I've just been watching the start of it, and it looks lovely. But what sort of science are they teaching at Oxford? Within the first five minutes the presenter, Dr George McGavin, had described the subject oak tree as "90m tall". That seemed so unlikely that I did a quick Google: the tallest oak in Britain was apparently just 40.4m tall when measured in 2012. Did he mean 19m? And then a minute later his colleague, Dr Mat Disney, described the total leaf area of the oak as "700 metres squared". Eh? That's a hell of a big area. Did he mean "700 square metres", which is a different thing altogether?

OK, I'm no scientist, but to me the quoted figures just sound incredible. If I'm wrong, OK; but if I'm right to be sceptical then why are real scientists spouting such nonsense, and why didn't the BBC pick it up?
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:07 pm
Location: Richmond, North Yorkshire

Re: bbc

Postby oldclaypaws » Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:22 pm

Although he had a rather soft mumbly voice, the presenter actually said quite clearly 19 metres tall and 30 metres wide, so it has an open structure typical of hedgerow or field oaks. All our high forest (well plantation actually) oaks are around 30 metres / 100 feet high, so it was actually a fairly short specimen due to the location.

They did say the area was 700 metres squared, a poor use of terminology when they meant 700 square metres, but they followed by saying about the area of three tennis courts.

I also despair sometimes about the poor grammar used by the BBC, even by news presenters who seem to be chosen for prettiness rather than intelligence or correct diction. A sign of the times unfortunately.

Overall I enjoyed the programme. I didn't actually learn anything new (having read several specialist books on oaks and trees), but they were addressing a wide audience with little knowledge of trees. I'd actually like to have seen a bit more about the uses of oak and found the most interesting bit the snippet on Salisbury Cathedral.

Better and more enjoyable than the majority of dumbed down crud for the masses aired on most channels. We have SKY with hundreds of programmes but I usually can't find a good one and end up searching catchup for BBC documentaries or history programmes.

I player link;

George McGavin is actually a distinguished entomologist and zoologist. I particularly enjoyed the programme he did called 'Afterlife; The Science of Decay', which was creepy but quite fascinating;
Posts: 1132
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:13 pm

Return to General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests