Category Archives: Plants & People

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Brazil Nuts Save The Communities That Protect Them

Help is at hand for the Amazon rainforest and Brazil's poverty-stricken rural people – courtesy of the country's famous native nut.

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Surviving Only In The Greenhouse

THE only surviving specimens of one of the world's rarest plants have gone on display after cuttings taken from a Malaysian mountain by Scots scientists more than a decade ago flourished while the flower died out in its native habitat.

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Three Wise Mens Gift Becoming Threatened Species

For thousands of years, frankincense has been hugely important both socially and economically as an ingredient in incense and perfumes. But… its production in the Horn of Africa is declining because Boswellia woodlands are failing to regenerate.

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What Gorillas Teach Pharmacists

If Aframomum lives up to the current hopes for it… we will owe a great debt to early native healers in Africa… and the wild lowland gorillas whose habits they perhaps observed and mimicked.

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Drug Companies Harvest Cures From Chinese Herbalists

The collaboration between East and West on drug development is in many ways an unlikely one. Chinese and Western specialists approach pharmacology from very different angles.

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What Nature Does For Us

A new conservation model that measures the value of ecosystem services benefiting humans – ranging from flood control to crop pollination – can foster more win-win solutions between wilderness advocates and landowners.

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Responding to the Loss of the Aral Sea

Two radically different solutions to this environmental nightmare are being tried out by the two countries that share the remnants of the sea.

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Who Profits from "Useful" Plants?

This is the silent plunder of natural resources from developing countries. Here we have a large multinational taking out a patent on a plant that grows naturally in a part of Africa and claiming it is their invention. Now the company is making a fortune selling it to the mass market, but the Tanzania communities that live in these regions will not receive one penny.

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Elixir of Youth from Madagascar Plant?

The cream, Sublimage, has its origins in the northern extremity of Madagascar from whence, almost a decade ago, Ormancey received a tip-off about a species of vanilla tree bearing an amazing, life-giving fruit, of which only 13 specimens remained.