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.

Extermination Of Other Mega Fauna Leaves Parrots As Prime Amazon Seed Dispersers

The consideration of parrots, in addition to tapirs, monkeys, carnivore mammals, corvids, squirrels, large rodents and other large vertebrates as legitimate long-distance endozoochorous and especially stomatochorous dispersers of seeds that adjust to the megafaunal syndrome has deep implications in ecology, evolution and conservation of biodiversity. This evaluation is especially important due to the delicate conservation status of many of these species, both dispersers and large-seeded palms and trees. (Click on title for full story).

Probiotics Protect Trees Planted For Pollution Remediation

Trees have the ability to capture and remove pollutants from the soil and degrade them through natural processes in the plant. It’s a feat of nature companies have used to help clean up polluted sites, though only in small-scale projects. Now, a probiotic bacteria for trees can boost the speed and effectiveness of this natural cycle, providing a microbial partner to help protect trees from the toxic effects of the pollutants and break down the toxins plants bring in from contaminated groundwater. (Click on title for full story).

Preserving Trees In Pastures Helps Reptiles Survive

They often like woody debris, leaf litter and fallen logs, which further emphasises the importance of trees to ground features and the importance of retaining trees in grazed environments (Click on title for full story).

In The Amazon Rain Forest The Trees Help Make The Rain

The Amazon rainforest is home to strange weather. One peculiarity is that rains begin 2 to 3 months before seasonal winds start to bring in moist air from the ocean. Now, researchers say they have finally figured out where this early moisture comes from: the trees themselves. (Click on title for full story.)

Algae That Survive In Deserts Hold Valuable Secrets

In the future, microalgae could be used to make an oil that represents an alternative to palm oil; this would reduce the demand for palm tree plantations, which pose a major threat to the natural environment. Moreover, understanding how microalgae can colonize a desert region will help us to understand the effects of climate change in the region. (Click on title for full story.)

Learning About Food Security From Neolithic Farmers

Millets have an unparalleled genetic diversity both because of their long history of cultivation, and because they’ve been grown in so many regions of the world, including very harsh ones. This means they’ve retained the wild traits that give them resilience to changes in growing conditions. They don’t need much water, they grow quickly, and they have a great nutritional balance. (Click on title for full story.)

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Gardening Benefits Children In A Great Many Ways

Whether in your own little plot or as part of a larger space, gardening can provide children with a variety of benefits few other activities can. (Click on title for full story.)

What, Exactly, Causes Trees To Die During Drought?

How trees respond to drought is important for models used to predict climate change. Plants take up a large portion of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere — fewer trees means more CO2. Sudden large-scale changes in plant populations, such as the tree die-offs observed worldwide in recent decades, could affect the rate at which climate changes. Current global vegetation models have faced challenges in producing consistent estimates of plant CO2 uptake, scientists say. The predictions vary widely depending on assumptions about how plants respond to climate. One idea for improving the models is to base forest responses to climate change on how trees die in response to heat, drought and other stresses. (CLick on title for full story.)

That Pristine Jungle? Humans Have Been Altering It For 45,000 Years

The first review of the global impact of humans on tropical forests in the ancient past shows that humans have been altering these environments for at least 45,000 years. This counters the view that tropical forests were pristine natural environments prior to modern agriculture and industrialization. The study found that humans have in fact been having a dramatic impact on such forest ecologies for tens of thousands of years, through techniques ranging from controlled burning of sections of forest to plant and animal management to clear-cutting. (Click on title for full story.)

North America’s Song Birds At Greatest Risk From Central America’s Deforestation

The resulting analysis found that 21 species of eastern-flyway forest birds well known to U.S. birders—including Least Flycatchers, Tennessee Warblers, and Indigo Buntings—spend up to 200 days per year, on average, at their wintering grounds in Central America. And they really crammed into those southern forests: The migrants occurred in densities three times higher than at their summertime nesting areas. The researchers then modeled how changes in land-use (like converting forest to farmland or homes) and climate (like changes in temperature and rainfall) might affect both breeding and wintering areas by 2050. The computer models showed that, within 40 years, deforestation on wintering grounds will pose the greatest threat to these migratory species—even more so than habitat loss where they breed. (Click on title for full story.)