Tag: lancaster university

The illegal wild orchid trade

Large-scale commercial trade of wild orchids is a pressing, but little-recognised conservation problem, according to researchers.

Orchids are one of the largest families of flower plants in the world, and – on paper – they are among the most well protected.

From edible orchid cake in Tanzania and ornamental orchids in Thailand and Brazil, to medicinal orchids in Nepal, these plants are highly sought after commodities.

Pesticide dust danger in Pakistan

Residents and workers in a major Pakistan city are exposed to harmful levels of pesticides, new research reveals.

Scientists from Pakistan’s F Quaid-i-Azam University and Lancaster University have evaluated the organophosphate pesticide concentration in dust from farms and also from pesticide manufacturing plants in the megacity of Lahore.

Finding the fun in sustainability

The highest daily rainfall in 50 years didn’t stop members of the Lancaster Environment Centre’s new Sustainability Group putting their principles into practice

The launch of the Group, which aims to support staff and students at the Lancaster Environment Centre to put sustainability into action, started indoors with presentations about the environmental and social impact of American cannabis, Arctic oil and UK pensions. Some of the hardier attendees then went outdoors to the Lancaster University Ecohub to help Green Lancaster with their growing projects. This involved pruning raspberry canes in torrential rain, during a period which the University’s Hazelrigg Weather Station measured as the wettest 24 hours in more than 50 years.

The global nitrate time-bomb

Researchers have quantified for the first time the long term threat to global drinking water posed by agricultural pollution trapped in the rocks beneath our feet.

In a paper published in Nature Communications, researchers from the British Geological Survey (BGS) and Lancaster University show that vast quantities of nitrate are stored in the rocky layer between our soils and the water table. Using modelling techniques they estimate that rocks contain up to 180 million tonnes of nitrate, twice the amount believed to be stored in soil.

Sugarcane could cut carbon

Abandoned sugarcane plantations across the tropics could offer us a realistic, sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

Ethanol produced from sugarcane has been one of the most successful short-term strategies to date in decarbonising energy supply, particularly in Brazil where the sugarcane ethanol system results in just 14% of the CO2 emissions of petroleum. In 2012 Brazil became the first country in which more bioethanol was used in cars than petroleum.

Selective logging threatens biodiversity

A new study finds that even low levels of logging in the Amazon rainforest may lead to great losses in biodiversity.

More than 403 million hectares of tropical forests worldwide have been earmarked for timber concessions with selective logging a common economic activity. The Brazilian Amazon alone holds around 4.5 billion m³ of commercial timber volume, and the demand on Amazonian hardwood is increased as African and Asian timber stocks are exhausted.