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.
There are about 400,000 species of plants in the world. Humans use approximately 10–15% of them to cover our basic needs, such as food, medicine and shelter, as well as other needs, such as recreation, art, and craft. But why and how have humans selected only a small fraction of all plants to utilize? A new study published in today’s Nature Plants sheds new light on these questions by investigating how people use palms in South America. The overall conclusion is that people are very selective when it comes to plants used to cover basic needs, but less so when it comes to using plants for needs with no physiological underpinnings.
The saga of cocoa (Theobroma cacao) in southern Bahia is part of Brazil’s economic and cultural history. Brazil was once the world’s second-largest cocoa producer and now ranks sixth. After more than 20 years of exile from the global market, cocoa growers were able to resume exports of the commodity only in 2015.
The culprit behind the decline of Bahian cocoa was the fungus Moniliophthora perniciosa, which causes witch’s broom. This disease appeared in the Ilhéus-Itabuna area in 1989 and attacked the shoots, flowers and pods of cocoa trees.