Archive for September, 2009

It is time for harvest

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 | Explore Everyday Nature | No Comments

Food is not just found in the supermarket and in the garden, it is everywhere. Autumn is the time for both humans and animals to collect and store food for the winter.

Knowledge about how to use nature in daily life is rapidly disappearing. Ethnobiology includes not only the current use of plants and animals, but also their use across various epochs and cultures, for everything from food and medicines to clothing, tools and housing.

Ask elderly people around you what they used to collect from nature.

Many fruits and berries are rich in vitamin C, which has many important functions in relation to our health. Several can be prepared and stored as jam, jelly or dried.

What berries grow where you live, are they edible and are you allowed to pick them?

Fruits, nuts and berries are not there primarily for us to eat. They contain seeds to be spread. Many of them are colorful and sweet, and in this way entice animals to eat them.

What animals spread the seeds from the fruit, nuts and berries in your region?

Apples, image courtesy: Sara Borgström

Apples, image courtesy: Sara Borgström

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Essential mushrooms

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 | Nature @ Your Service | No Comments

The mushrooms that we see in the woods are just a small part of the world of fungis. Mushrooms are hard working species in all kinds of environments. Together with microorganisms they decompose all leaves, needles and other organic material into nutrients that keeps the soil fertile. Up to 90 per cent of all plants are dependent on fungi roots, mykorrhiza. In one gram of soil in a Swedish forest 6 miles of mushroom roots. These microscopic roots help the plants to get nutrients and also protect it from toxins. In exchange the mushrooms get sugar from the plants photosynthesis. Without these species our forest would soon drown in its own waste and die from malnutrition. This relationship has been discovered to be very important for tree growth and hence in forestry. Modern forestry has just started to find methods that are “mykorrhiza-friendly”.

Chantarelles, image courtesy Sara Borgström

Chantarelles, image courtesy Sara Borgström

Making alternative fuel from a pair of jeans

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 | Environment Update | No Comments

Wondering what to do with really worn out clothes and other textiles that you can’t sell second hand? Professor Mohammad Taherzadeh and his research team from the University of Borås might have an answer. They are developing a technology for producing ethanol and biogas from textiles. It might be up to 50 per cent more efficient than producing ethanol from grains. One of the main criticisms of large-scale ethanol production for the international market is the risk that it substitutes necessary local food production. This kind of innovative technology that uses our own waste for energy is welcome.

Check out”jeans fuel”

Remains of jeans to be converted into fuel

Remains of jeans to be converted into fuel

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