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ecosystems

An indicator of environmental quality

The lichen-rich tundra has proved very useful for studying the spread of pollutants around the world: the wind carries pollutants everywhere, even distances of thousands of kilometres. Lichens are good bio-indicators, i.e. they are organisms that allow us to recognise…

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

Flour from forests

Bread and flour are staple foods for many cultures around the world. It is possible to produce flour from cereals such as maize and wheat, or from fruits such as chestnuts or acorns, but few people know that some North…

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…

ecosystems

Let’s save the baby seals

In Canada, Norway and Greenland, baby seals are killed for their skin and fur, to be sold all over the world. Italy is one of the main importers of baby sealskin, for its shoe and clothing factories. China, Korea and…

 
 
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