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Deforestation in the Tropics

Tropical forests around the world play a key role in the global carbon cycle and harbour more than half of the species worldwide. However, increases in land use during the past decades caused unprecedented losses of tropical forest. Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) have adapted a method from physics to mathematically describe the fragmentation of tropical forests. In the scientific journal Nature, they explain how this allows to model and understand the fragmentation of forests on a global scale. They found that forest fragmentation in all three continents is close to a critical point beyond which fragment number will strongly increase. This will have severe consequences for biodiversity and carbon storage.

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Stanford Scientists Eavesdrop on Volcanic Rumblings to Forecast Eruptions

A new study has shown that monitoring inaudible low frequencies called infrasound produced by a type of active volcano could improve the forecasting of significant, potentially deadly eruptions.

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Index Adopted to Track NTD Treatment in Africa

African leaders have adopted a new index that helps track progress in mass treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Study Sheds Light on How Plants Get Their Nitrogen Fix

Legumes are a widely consumed family of plants that serve as a significant source of dietary protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. They obtain nitrogen through a specialized process known as nodulation, a symbiotic partnership in which soil bacteria infect the root of a plant, form bulb-like nodules, and convert nitrogen into a plant-friendly form. Understanding how nodulation is regulated may aid environmental efforts to improve legume crop efficiency and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.

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New Treatment Strategies for Chronic Kidney Disease from the Animal Kingdom

The field of biomimetics offers an innovative approach to solving human problems by imitating strategies found in nature. Medical research could also benefit from biomimetics, as a group of international experts from various fields, including a wildlife veterinarian and wildlife ecologists from Vetmeduni Vienna, point out using the example of chronic kidney disease. In future research, they intend to study the mechanisms that protect the muscles, organs and bones of certain animals during extreme conditions such as hibernation. The possibilities were published in Nature Reviews.

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Fungal Enzymes Could Hold Secret to Making Renewable Energy from Wood

An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of York, has discovered a set of enzymes found in fungi that are capable of breaking down one of the main components of wood.

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Study shakes up fracking-quake conventional wisdom

Oil and gas companies can influence the number of fracking-related earthquakes they may unintentionally generate by changing the volume of fluids injected during the extraction process, a study by Western seismic expert Gail Atkinson shows.

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Applied study project investigates relevancy of supercluster proposals

University of Lethbridge student Katie Quinn had the opportunity recently to complete an applied study at Lethbridge County that focused on agricultural superclusters and how one would best contribute to the county. Her research culminated in a special presentation to Lethbridge County Council.

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Household Cleaners are Almost as Dirty as Cars

Chemical products that contain compounds refined from petroleum, like household cleaners, pesticides, paints and perfumes, now rival motor vehicle emissions as the top source of urban air pollution, according to a surprising NOAA-led study by researchers from CU Boulder and other institutions.

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Forest Fires Increasingly Dominate Amazonian Carbon Emissions During Droughts

Carbon emissions from the Brazilian Amazon are increasingly dominated by forest fires during extreme droughts rather than by emissions from fires directly associated with the deforestation process, according to a study in Nature Communications.

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