Plants help refugees fight climate change and other stories

A story about how refugees are learning the skills they need to improve their homes and their host communities was one of the links we shared on social media yesterday.

A Brazilian NGO restores widely degraded Atlantic Forest amid mining threats

Iracambi is a Brazilian NGO in the Serra do Brigadeiro mountain range, located in the heart of the Atlantic Forest, a biome largely destroyed by rampant deforestation.

Refugees use plants to fight malaria & climate change in Uganda

Refugees in Uganda are involved in a scheme to plant shrubs and trees to help local communities fight malaria and restore environments hit by climate change.

Farmers Are Turning To An Ancient Practice To Improve Agriculture

From ancient Egypt to medieval England, cultivating one or more crops in the same field was common practice among many farmers for thousands of years. However, in the last century, food producers largely stopped ‘intercropping’ and moved towards an industrial type of agriculture – a shift that contributed to 34% of the world’s farmland being degraded today.

Agricultura regenerativa, un nuevo enfoque ambiental y económico en la producción

“Regenerative agriculture, a new environmental and economic approach to production” auto-translation

Opinion: Nude Gardening calendar – organic gardeners bare all for a good cause

The Soil & Health Association of New Zealand has launched its first calendar. The Nude Gardening 2024 Calendar features people gardening au naturel in Aotearoa, in a tribute to organic growing practices. An enthusiastic, yet professional, Kem Ormond investigates.

350-year-old tree transformed into sculpture

A 350-year-old plane tree in Safranbolu, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed town in the Karabük province of the Karadeniz region, has been turned into a sculpture after facing the threat of withering away.


Cessation of grazing causes biodiversity loss and homogenization of soil food webs (OA)

There is widespread concern that cessation of grazing in historically grazed ecosystems is causing biotic homogenization and biodiversity loss. Schrama et al. used 12 montane grassland sites along an 800 km north–south gradient across the UK, to test whether cessation of grazing affects local α- and β-diversity of below-ground food webs. They show cessation of grazing leads to strongly decreased α-diversity of most groups of soil microbes and fauna, particularly of relatively rare taxa.

Regulation of Rubisco activity in crops (OA)

Efficient plant acclimation to changing environmental conditions relies on fast adjustments of the transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome. Regulation of enzyme activity depends on the activity of specific chaperones, chemical post-translational modifications (PTMs) of amino acid residues, and changes in the cellular and organellar microenvironment. Central to carbon assimilation, and thus plant growth and yield, Rubisco activity is regulated by its chaperone Rubisco activase (Rca) and by adjustments in the chloroplast stroma environment. Amaral et al. highlight the main PTMs and stromal ions and metabolites affecting Rubisco and Rca in response to environmental stimuli.

Terrestrial carbon dynamics in an era of increasing wildfire ($)

In an increasingly flammable world, wildfire is altering the terrestrial carbon balance. However, the degree to which novel wildfire regimes disrupt biological function remains unclear. Hudiberg et al. synthesize the current understanding of above- and belowground processes that govern carbon loss and recovery across diverse ecosystems. We find that intensifying wildfire regimes are increasingly exceeding biological thresholds of resilience, causing ecosystems to convert to a lower carbon-carrying capacity. Free ReadCube version: https://botany.fyi/5hCNdk

Pollinators enhance the production of a superior strawberry – A global review and meta-analysis (OA)

Strawberry (Fragaria × ananasa Duch.) is the most economically important soft fruit worldwide. While self- and wind-pollination is possible for strawberry, without biotic pollination (animal pollinators, including artificial pollination by humans) rate of strawberry flowers rarely exceeds 60% and thus fruit production is decreased. At a time of widely recognized decline of pollinators and increasing global demand for balanced food, we need a comprehensive understanding of the worldwide valuation of these ecosystem services. In this paper, Gudowska et al. use a transparent and systematic review process to detect gaps in the available literature.

Food plants in Brazil: Origin, economic value of pollination and pollinator shortage risk ($)

Pollination is a key ecosystem service of critical importance for food production. However, globally, several regions are already experiencing pollinator shortage as pollinators are declining. Olivera et al. investigate the origin, pollinator dependence and economic value of 199 food crops cultivated in Brazil to understand to which extent (1) Brazilian agriculture is vulnerable to pollinator shortage, and (2) Brazilian society has already achieved a comprehensive perspective about crop dependence. They used Brazil as a case study as it is a megadiverse tropical country and the 3rd largest world crop producer and exporter, with most of the crops depending on pollinators.

Transcriptome analysis of iron over-accumulating Arabidopsis genotypes uncover putative novel regulators of systemic and retrograde signaling (OA)

On account of its competence to accept and donate electrons, iron (Fe) is an essential element across all forms of life, including plants. Maintaining Fe homeostasis requires precise orchestration of its uptake, trafficking, and translocation in order to meet the demand for Fe sinks such as plastids. Plants harboring defects in the systemic Fe transporter OPT3 (OLIGOPEPTIDE TRANSPORTER 3) display constitutive Fe deficiency responses and accumulate toxic levels of Fe in their leaves. Similarly, ectopic expression of IRONMAN (IMA) genes, encoding a family of phloem-localized signaling peptides, triggers the uptake and accumulation of Fe by inhibiting the putative Fe sensor BRUTUS. This study aims at elucidating the mechanisms operating between OPT3-mediated systemic Fe transport, activation of IMA genes in the phloem, and activation of Fe uptake in the root epidermis.


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