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‘Sink’ Setback Tropical Forests


http://RenovoNaturalHealth.com


Releasing Excess Carbon A study published in the journal Science found that forests across Asia, Latin America and Africa release 468 tons of carbon per year, equivalent to nearly 10 percent of the annual U.S. carbon footprint. Thus, tropical forests may no longer be acting as carbon sinks and could be releasing more carbon than they store. Lead author Alessandro Baccini, with the Woods Hole Research Center, in Massachu- setts, says, “These findings provide the world with a wake-up call on forests. If we’re to keep global temperatures from rising to dan- gerous levels, we need to drastically reduce emissions and greatly increase forests’ ability to absorb and store carbon.” Researchers think nearly 70 percent of


$200+ Value


this loss of carbon storage capacity is caused by small- scale degradation from logging, drought and wildfire. Re- searchers say that policies to curb deforestation, reduce degradation and restore the integrity of the land could turn forests back into carbon sinks.


Waxworm Wonders 919.986.9940


Caterpillars Offer Clues to Plastic Cleanup Waxworms, a type of caterpillar, are vexing to beekeepers because they devour the wax that bees use to build honey- combs. It turns out that they can do the same to plastic. Ongo- ing worldwide research reveals several types of bacteria found in waxworms that digest some kinds of plastic at rates that vary from weeks to months.


Scientist Federica Bertocchini, at the Spanish National Re- search Council, mashed up a quantity of the greater wax moth and applied the paste to polyethylene. After half a day, about 13 percent of the plastic had disappeared.


6512 SixForks Rd - Suite 404A Raleigh, NC 27615 There are two ways of


or the mirror that reflects it. —Edith Wharton


spreading light: to be the candle


She collaborated with biochemists at the University of Cambridge to analyze this chemical decomposition of the plastic. They discovered that some of the substance is converted into ethylene glycol, a sign that it was genuinely being degraded. The carbon-to-carbon bonds found in polyethylene are also present in the wax that the caterpillars eat.


Susan Selke, director of the Michigan State University School of Packaging, remarks, “The hunt for organisms that can degrade plastics is on. Right now, we don’t have a good solution for dealing with the plastics that are piling up on our planet.”


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NA Triangle


www.natriangle.com


monticelloSefa Kaya


Dirk Ercken/Shutterstock.com


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