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Eco Plants Roundup

December 5, 2008

Researchers try a new approach to protecting tropical mangrove forests.


Protecting trees that protect us. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Rising from the shore in a tangle of roots, mangrove trees thrive in salt water. Fish and crustaceans breed among the roots, and the trees are a buffer against hurricanes and tsunamis. But according to scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, few people are aware of their value, and mangroves are being cut down by the millions. So the scientists are calculating how much income the trees provide for fishermen. They hope once people know how many millions of dollars these trees pump into the local economy, they’ll be less likely to kill them.

In other plant related news, researchers at the Flanders Institute of Biotechnology report that they’ve turned annual plants into perennials. By blocking two genes linked to flowering, they’ve created plants that live year after year—research of particular interest in agriculture. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.