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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

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

Peat-bogs

Peat is a material of vegetal origin, that forms in different types and sizes of water fields or in very humid areas from the incomplete conversion of dead vegetal residues. The natural environments where peat generally builds up are called…

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…

ecosystems

A witness of the ancient times

Baltic amber is largely used to make jewels. Amber is a resin that took origin thousands of years ago from some now extinct plants, and that has then fossilised over the millenniums from a soft and sticky resin into a…

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

An environmental quality indicator

The tundra, which is extremely rich in lichens, proved very useful to study the world’s distribution of pollutants: the wind actually carries poisons everywhere, even thousands of kilometres away. Lichens are excellent bio-indicators, i.e. natural signs that allow us to…

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

An underground hospital

In the Russia of the Ural mountains, amidst the woods of the taigs, there is a very peculiar hospital: it is located approximately 300 metres below ground and treats disabling and chronic diseases, for instance bronchial asthma and arthrosis. It…

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