Friday, October 14, 2016

Revolutionary Plan Can Save Rainforest

Amazon rainforest could be used as a ‘factory’ for biotechnology products instead of being destroyed by looting, burning and mining.

The berries of the açaí palm have anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties. (Image Credit: Kate Evans/CIFOR via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Brazilian scientists, alarmed at the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest, have proposed a radical plan to save it.

This would ally the forest’s incredible biodiversity with the new technologies being developed as part of the 4th Industrial Revolution − the name coined for the fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.

The technologies include biomimicry (production of materials by imitating nature – such as solar panels in the pattern of a leaf), gene editing and genomics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things (where embedded software enables cars, buildings and other inanimate objects to communicate), and 3D printing.

The world’s largest tropical forest plays a major role in the world’s climate system by storing large stocks of carbon and regulating energy and water fluxes, but it is also a treasure house of species and plants, many of them still unstudied.

The group of scientists − led by Carlos Nobre, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and co-ordinator of the Centre for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies at Brazil’s Space Research Institute (INPE) − set out their vision in an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Rainforest damage
“The latest climate models show that, by 2050, half of the Amazon rainforest could be transformed into degraded savannas or seasonable forests, drier and poorer in biodiversity and biomass.”

Read more at Revolutionary Plan Can Save Rainforest

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