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ecosystems

The rhinoceros, an endangered animal

Rhinoceroses appeared on Earth around 40 million years ago spreading across Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, and shared the planet with humans for millennia, as can be seen from cave paintings portraying them, found in the Chauvet Cave in…

ecosystems

Resin from tree bark

Resin naturally forms underneath the bark of some trees, that are therefore called resinous trees. Resin, that can be easily found when walking in the woods, is used to make paints, glues and detergents. To collect it, one piece of…

ecosystems

Sputnik in the steppe

The steppe was the protagonist of one of the most important events in the history of space explorations. The very first artificial satellite was launched from Kazakhstan on October 4th, 1957. It was Sputnik 1, a metal ball provided with…

ecosystems

Flour and forest perfumes

Forest produce is also quite valuable and can be picked in any season: berries in summer, mushrooms in autumn and nuts of resinous trees in winter. In the old times, during the famine, the Scots pine (sapwood) bark was used…

ecosystems

The loess

A peculiar trait of these soils is that they are easily moved by the wind: the vegetation has shallow roots,that can be further loosened by a dry spell or excessive grazing. The strong winds that blow in these tree-less areas…

ecosystems

A frozen mammoth

During the Pleistocene (approximately 1.5 million years ago), the tundra covered all central Europe and was inhabited by spectacular animals, for instance mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses. In 1999, the Siberian permafrost gave back a huge specimen of a mammoth, which…

ecosystems

Lemmings

One of the most typical animals of the tundra is the lemming, a small rodent. Lemmings reproduce very quickly and reach sexual maturity very early in life: when they are 38 days old, the females can already give birth. When…

ecosystems

Treatment with lime trees

Some parts of the plants have healing properties: lime trees are among the most common ones. Lime trees (Tilia cordata) are some of the many plants that are grown to decorate parks, gardens and walks. Lime trees are considered to…

ecosystems

A meteorite explodes in the tundra

The Siberian tundra is also known for a spectacular astronomic event. On June 30th, 1908, in a remote region of central Siberia, near the river Tunguska, a meteorite having a diameter of 50 metres exploded in the earth’s atmosphere 8…

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