Category Archives: Plants & People

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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.

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Beautiful Flowers, the Shaman, and the Harvard Professor

So, Western medicine, with its expensive machinery and sophisticated scientists, has finally figured out what DaBuWan (the Suriname shaman) and his peers knew long ago. But how did they know it?

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You Can’t Restore Habitat if You Can’t Get The Seed: Prairie Version

The couple never planned to spend five years building a harvester, but like a barbed needle-and-thread grass seed, once the idea got in their heads they couldn't pull it out.

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Healthy Mangroves Protect Human Communities

Places that had healthy coral reefs and intact mangroves, which act as natural buffers, were less badly hit by the tsunami.