Gardeners and Nature lovers already appreciate the botanical wonders around us, but plants are more than floral beauties. We owe the air we breathe to them, all of our food, and most of our medicine, chemicals and housing. Animals from elephants to ants depend on plant-life. And the world's flora has an equally intimate relationship with the birds, insects, mammals and humans around them.
Explore these relationships and find the latest botany discoveries through the links below.
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- Ants Taking Our Cocoa Plantings
- "The ants shepherd and protect the mealybugs so they can ‘milk’ the sugary nutritious fluids in their waste. The bugs used to drink primarily from local rainforest trees, but when humans started clearing the forest to make way for cocoa, the ants adapted, by driving their livestock into the fresh cocoa pastures."
- Overhunting Seed Dispersers Is Decimating Forests
- "Hunting and poaching has decimated many mammal and bird populations across the tropics, and according to two new studies the loss of these important seed-disperser are imperiling the very nature of rainforests."
- How A Small Brown Snake Is Changing The Forest
- "The invasive brown tree snake has wiped out virtually all birds on the tiny Pacific island. A research team will examine how the loss of fruit-eating birds affects the distribution of 16 tree species in Guam's forests. There's a concern that Guam's forests may become filled with open areas and start to look more like Swiss cheese than a closed canopy forest."
- Fig Wasps As Keystone Species, Vulnerable To Global Warming
- "From the wings of tiny creatures hang the fates of hundreds of bird and mammal species, and perhaps even entire rainforests. They are fig wasps and they play a disproportionate role in the grand drama of life on Earth. They shape our own story too because of this. But new research warns that these insects could be “extremely vulnerable” to global warming."
- Scientists Turn To Plants For Novel Morphing Materials
- "New method for producing composite materials from a variety of materials that adopt a pre-programmed shape autonomously."
Copyright © 2010 Rob Halpern. All rights reserved.