The Taiga forest, on the edge of the Arctic, is a silent world of stunted conifers. The trees may be small but filming from the air reveals its true scale. A third of all trees on Earth grow here and during the short summer they produce enough oxygen to change the atmosphere.
2006 • Nature
[3 parts] Steve Backshall explores the world of insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans, in order to find out more about their habits and secrets. Ch1. Them and Us Steve Backshall explores the connections and relationships humans have with insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans. He begins by revealing how huge armies of driver ants give houses a five-star clean-up in Kenya, while in China, silkworm caterpillars are credited with shaping culture and distribution. He also explains that, despite people's perceptions of these creepy-crawlies, mankind could not live without them. Ch2. Making Worlds Steve Backshall explores the influence that insects and their close relatives, the arachnids and crustaceans, have on the planet's many ecosystems. He reveals how the landscape of South America's grasslands has been created almost solely by one team of bugs - grass-cutter ants - while in east Africa, the savannah would quickly become swamped in dung were it not for the activities of a particular beetle. He also contemplates the idea that without one tiny creature, the blue whale could not exist. Ch3. The Secrets to Their Success Steve Backshall explores why an estimated 10 million species of insects are so abundant, and examines the secrets of their success. In Yellowstone National Park, he reveals how teamwork enables a colony of bees to scare off a hungry bear, and he travels to the Swiss Alps to highlight the relationship between ants, wasps and butterflies.
2013 • Nature
The fifth programme explores the alliances formed between the animal and plant worlds. It examines the ways in which plants live together and rely on each other. Whether living together in harmony, relying on each other for homes, protection or food, or living off each other, by strangling or otherwise destroying each other in a bid to survive.
After the murder of one of its own, the Makulu Pack of wild dogs looks to a new leader for salvation; the Western Pride is exiled to the fringes of the kingdom as it fights to protect its cubs; the marauding hyena clan commits the cruelest of acts.
Life in the sea rebounded with a vengeance in the Devonian. Dozens of monstrous predators emerged, like the 40-foot long Dunkleosteus. Nearly everything was wiped out in Earth’s second mass extinction. But the stage was set for an explosion of life on land.