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. Check out the categories in the menu or try the search using the magnifying glass above.
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Will Climate Change Turn Rain Forests Into Impoverished Savannas?

We are in a good moment in terms of transforming land-use change in the tropics … but in the present there are areas in the Amazon in which a repeated cycle of deforestation, regrowth and fire has led to a landscape that is highly degraded,

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Tree Rings Reveal Marine Ecosystem History

By comparing the tree-ring data to the fish and seabird statistics, the researchers found that years with weak upwelling and lots of tree growth correlated with years when fish and seabird populations suffered.

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Recognizing Land Rights Of Indigenous Peoples Protects Habitats

The document, produced by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and the Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education, warned that growing pressure for land and resources was threatening the long-term future of communities that depended on tropical forests for their livelihoods.

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Human Creation Story Should Really Be about Evolution of Grasses

The arrival of a new variety of plants, particularly grasses, may have altered the environment in ways that could have helped push our ancestors to acquire traits that would come to define modern humans

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Modern forests hold signs of prehistoric apocalypse

When a 10-kilometer-wide object slammed into Earth about 66 million years ago, it created an ecological catastrophe. In the ensuing environmental chaos, dinosaurs died out but mammals survived, setting the stage for the modern world. Now, scientists have confirmed that the plant kingdom suffered similar disparities after the impact

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Secret World of Bacteria Discovered In Rain Forest Canopy

More is known about belly-button bacteria than bacteria on trees in the tropics. Smithsonian scientists and colleagues working on Panama’s Barro Colorado Island discovered that small leaf samples from a single tree were home to more than 400 different kinds of bacteria. The combined sample from 57 tree species contained more than 7,000 different kinds.

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Seagrass Protect Shellfish From Climate Change

Results from a new study suggest that marine ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows, may help shell-forming organisms overcome the effects of future ocean acidification.

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Nature Trails Reduce Youth Obesity

More non-motorized nature trails available for use by youth in a particular county lead to an increase in the physical activity rates as well as lower youth obesity rates

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Vanilla Isn’t So Vanilla After All – Location, Location, Location

Vanilla is one of the most complex spices around, boasting at least 250 different flavor and aroma compounds, only one of which is vanillin, the stuff that can be made artificially in a lab (and is used in a lot of processed foods). And as we discovered in a round-the-world tasting tour of single-origin vanilla beans — the real stuff — the plant has evolved distinctions in flavor and, dare we say it, terroir, at each stage of its turbulent, globetrotting history.

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Plant Cells Offer Affordable Hemophilia Treatment

“The only current treatments against (antibody) formation cost $1 million and are risky for patients. Our technique, which uses plant-based capsules, has the potential to be a cost-effective and safe alternative.”