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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In Colorado alone, the mountain pine beetle has caused the deaths of more than 3.4 million acres of pine trees.
What effect do all these dead trees have on stream flow and water quality? Plenty, according to new research findings
In India’s Western Himalayas, changes in altitude are so dramatic and steep that alluvial grasslands, subtropical forests, conifers and alpine meadows lie stacked almost on top of each other, producing a spectacular range of vegetation. Now, the myriad plants that inhabit these mountains are migrating upwards because of climate change — and some are in danger of being lost before anyone has even recorded their existence.
Siamese rosewood from the Mekong region is nearing extinction as the demand in China for luxury reproduction wooden furniture soars. As the timber becomes scarcer, the price is increasing. Investors are pouring money into the business, making the problem even worse.
Many plants rely on birds to pollinate them and disperse their seeds, so it seems reasonable to assume that if the bird population falls, this will have a knock-on effect on plant species. Now the effect has been seen in a shrub, following the extinction of two birds – the bellbird (Anthornis melanura) and stitchbird (Notiomystis cincta) – on New Zealand’s North Island after rats were introduced there in the 1870s.
Contrary to what has long been believed, forest conservation and malaria control are not incompatible, and biodiversity issues should be included in the World Health Organization Malaria Eradication Research Agenda in order to achieve the desirable goals of biological conservation and maintenance of low malaria endemicity.
Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are a type of bear, and they still retain a meat eater’s digestive system, with a simple stomach and a short small intestine. They don’t have a four-chambered stomach like a cow to digest plants efficiently, and a pure bamboo diet contains hardly any protein and a lot of indigestible fiber.