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The Congo River Basin is home to one-fifth of the world's plant and animal species. Photo: Corinne Staley Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)Photo: Corinne Staley Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Deforestation in the Congo Basin is growing at an alarming rate

In 2021, deforestation in the Congo Basin increased by 4.9 percent affecting more than 630 thousand hectares of land. This is a particularly worrying trend, explains the Dutch NGO Climate Focus, when considering the area's importance for climate mitigation and biodiversity
The U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory hosted the research on soil virus. Photo: Jvimal Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)Jvimal Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

Here’s the mysterious virus-made protein supporting soil life

Chitosanase is a protein produced by a virus that "could be acting like a garden hoe for the soil preparing it for vegetables, trees, flowers, and all other kinds of life." A U.S. study gives new insights into land ecosystem processes
By applying the technique on a large scale, researchers say, it would be possible to address the problem of global soil pollution. Photo: Marco Verch https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/51093188777 Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Marco Verch https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/51093188777 Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Australian researchers mimic plants to clean up soil

Through solar-powered evaporators, the presence of heavy metals in soil can be significantly reduced. The solution, developed by the University of South Australia, could find application in other contexts and for other substances
More than 90 percent of deforestation in tropical areas is driven by agriculture. Photo: Kate Evans/CIFOR Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Kate Evans/CIFOR Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Land speculation drives deforestation ‘for nothing’ in the tropics

In tropical regions, agriculture causes up to 99 percent of deforestation. But at least one-third of deforested land gives no contribution to food production, researchers have found
Worldwide, soy cultivation promotes the deforestation of 4,800 km2 of land every year. Photo: Hippopx public domain CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)Hippopx public domain CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

Corporate commitments alone can’t stop soy-led deforestation

In 10 years, the moratorium on Brazilian soy derived from deforested land has saved just 2,300 km2 of forest, an international study says. "Supply chain governance should not be a substitute for state-led forest policies," researchers explain
In the 21st century, deforestation has erased nearly 10 million hectares of virgin forest in Indonesia. Photo: Peter Prokosch Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Peter Prokosch Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Coal-to-biomass transition fuels deforestation in Indonesia

In Indonesia increasing deforestation would result in up to 489 million tons of additional emissions, the environmental think tank Trend Asia says. The figure dwarfs the CO2 savings expected with the partial replacement of coal with biomass
By sending electricity from solar energy panels to a set of buried electrodes, it is possible to stimulate the reaction of soil bacteria. Photo: Antalexion Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)Antalexion Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Researchers believe microorganisms can help us store energy in the soil

By using the action of microorganisms, it is possible to store energy in the soil, British researchers say. This solution could reduce the overall impact of traditional batteries. But for large-scale application we will still have to wait for some time
Climate properties make tropical peatlands unsuitable for enhanced weathering. Photo: Anna Finke/CIFOR Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Anna Finke/CIFOR Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Enhanced weathering is a threat to tropical peatlands

Enhanced weathering, used to facilitate the capture of atmospheric CO2 on the ground, has counterproductive effects when applied on peatlands in warmer areas, a German study has found. In these areas, in fact, carbon sequestration is offset by emission growth
By betting on sectors involved in deforestation, financial operators risk huge losses. Photo: Preston Keres USDA CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain DedicationPhoto: Preston Keres USDA CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication

Financial damage from deforestation may be worse than 2008 downturn

Deforestation poses enormous risks for investors, says a UN research. By 2030, companies at the center of the global food supply system could lose up to 26 percent of their value
Nitrogen is an essential soil resource, but its overuse, mostly related to fertilizer application, is a driver of pollution. Photo: Cade Martin, Dawn Arlotta US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDCP) CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) public domainCade Martin, Dawn Arlotta US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDCP) CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) public domain

Soil nitrogen is the one responsible for water pollution

During rainy periods soil nitrogen in the soil is channeled into rivers, contributing to their contamination, a research from Nagoya University has found. The investigation thus denies the theory of atmospheric origin of water pollution