Category Archives: Natural Resources

Korea Environmental Industries

Mini 017Labex Korea - Achieving both economic growth and better quality of life is human kind’s longstanding aspiration. To that end, we need to tap natural resources in an environmentally sustainable manner and stop polluting environment in the process of consuming the resources.
Advanced nations have made a continuous effort and seen a significant progress in maximizing productivity of resources while realizing economic development that minimizes environmental pollution. They have sought ways to curb environmental degradation by inventing relevant technologies and nurturing industries.
The Ministry of Environmental and Korean Environmental Industry & Technology Institute prepared a book to introduce Korea’s competitive environmental enterprises and technologies to the world.
 
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Botanical Institute discovers seven species of fungi in Paranapiacaba

2By Noêmia Lopes
Agência FAPESP – Conservative estimates put the total number of fungal species in the world at 1.5 million. Although many remain unknown, new studies in the field of mycology are increasing the knowledge on this kingdom every year. Researchers from the São Paulo Environment Secretariat’s Botanical Institute (IBt/SP) have been contributing to these efforts and have just discovered seven new species on the Paranapiacaba Biological Reserve (RBP) in Greater São Paulo.
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Red alert for oilseed rape as colour change curbs pests

14By Matt McGrath
BBC News – Researchers at Rothamsted found that changing the colour of the crop’s petals from yellow to red can be an environmentally friendly method of controlling pollen beetles. This insect is becoming increasingly resistant to chemical pesticides. The study has been published in the journal Arthropod-Plant Interactions…. >>Continue Reading<<

Source and Photo: BBC News, June 5th, 2013
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Water expert calls for more collection of rainfall

Sistema coleta de aguaThe Korea Herald – In 2000, a stifling heat blanketed many parts of Korea for months, triggering severe water shortages especially in rural areas and islands.

The prolonged drought had put top water expert Han Moo-young at bay by “depriving him of the stuff to treat,” as he put it. But it was also a watershed moment in his career as it brought home to the engineering professor at Seoul National University the worth of a very basic component of nature: rain.

“Then it finally rained, but people didn’t really like it because it makes you wet and causes inconvenience,” he said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.

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Source and Photo: The Korean Herald, 15th April, 2013
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The local impacts of oil palm expansion in Malasya

BiodieslThis study is part of a broader research process assessing the local economic, social and environmental impacts from feedstock expansion for the growing biofuel sector. Nonetheless, in the Malaysian context, biofuel production volumes are negligible despite government interest in romoting sector expansion.
Since Malaysia is the second largest palm oil producer in the world, palm oil is slated to become the primary feedstock for biofuel production in the country. Since palm oil consistently outperforms all other substitute vegetable oils on price, it is also becoming an important feedstock globally. While a rapidly growing global biofuel sector could develop into an important new market outlet for Malaysia, it does carry a number of risks. This paper aims to reflect on these risks by exploring the local social and land-use impacts of oil palm in the Beluran District of Sabah State. This is based on household surveys to discover the perception of impacts among relevant local stakeholder groups, and remote-sensing analysis. While the impacts of oil palm in the study site cannot be attributed to the biodiesel industry per se, lessons learnt will be directly applicable to the biodiesel sector in Malaysia, and relevant for the whole Southeast Asia region.

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The state of the world: is it too late for sustainability?

Coral reeef man in boatThe Guardian - In November 2012, the “big four” professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report that concluded it was too late to hold the future increase in global average temperatures to just two degrees Celsius. “It’s time,” the report announced, “to prepare for a warmer world”.

The same month, the World Bank released Turn Down the Heat, which soberly set forth why a four-degree warmer world must be avoided. Meanwhile, accounts of myriad emerging calamities were easy to find in the press: the failure of the Rio+20 talks to result in positive action, “zombie” coral reefs, calls for higher birth rates, declining Arctic sea ice, an approaching “state shift” in the earth’s biosphere, and other evidence of strain in natural systems and of human blindness, ignorance or denial ……..>> Access the complete article<<

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Amazon plant discovery could yield green cash crop

43By Emma Marris
Nature - The two men saw a plant they did not recognize. Its plump, green seed pods resembled those of a family of plants known in Peru as sacha inchi, which produce oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids. But the pods of the new plant, later dubbed Plukenetia carolis-vegae, were bigger than those sprouted by the known sacha inchi species Plukenetia volubilis and Plukenetia huayllabambana.

Bussmann, an ethnobotanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, and Vega, head of the Institute for Sustainable Local Development and Andean Amazon Cultural and Biological Conservation (INBIAPERU) in Trujillo, Peru, had stumbled on a species unknown to science. Now, they hope to transform it into a ‘conservation crop’ that can be raised commercially in the shade beneath the Amazon’s forest canopy, without cutting down any trees.

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New report blames disappearance of honeybees on parasitic mite

41By Heinz-Peter Bader

Reuters – Honeybees have been disappearing, and a new report points to the parasitic mite varroa destructor as the main culprit.
A new federal report blames a combination of problems for a mysterious and dramatic disappearance of U.S. honeybees since 2006.
The intertwined factors cited include a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and pesticides.
The multiple causes make it harder to do something about what is called colony collapse disorder, experts say. The disorder has caused as much as one-third of the nation’s bees to just disappear each winter since 2006.
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Primrose oil no better than placebo for eczema, study finds

34_PlimroseBy Kerry Grens
MSN News — Evening primrose oil doesn’t reduce the symptoms of the itchy skin problem eczema, according to a new review of studies.
Herbal supplement makers market primrose oil as helpful in treating eczema, but “I don’t think you’ll get a specific benefit” from the pills, said Dr. Joel Bamford, the lead author of the review.
Eczema is a common skin disorder, especially among children, marked by itchy, red skin. Commonly, patients are prescribed steroid medications to treat the problem. Primrose oil initially showed some promise in studies several decades ago, said Bamford, who is an associate instructor at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth.
 
But when he tried to replicate the findings, he found that primrose oil didn’t seem to work….. >>Continue Reading<<
 
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Operational flexibility: A key factor in the development of biofuel technologies

011Abstract of ScienceDirect – Research on biofuels has been focused on improving yield of the conversion process while reducing the capital cost. Currently, 88% of the US ethanol production capacity and 96% of the planned expansion of capacity utilizes a dry milling process, which has a higher ethanol yield and a lower capital cost per gallon capacity than a wet milling process. However, the fact that all the corn ethanol plants that were bankrupted or idled during the 2008 economy recession used dry milling processes while all the plants that used wet milling processes had survived suggests that the efficiency driven approach may be flawed. This paper compares the economic performances of a typical dry milling plant with those of a typical wet milling plant under scenarios when market conditions are favorable or unfavorable to the corn ethanol production. The results show that the wet milling plant exhibits better performance under both scenarios due to its operational flexibility (e.g. having starch, high fructose corn syrup, gluten meal, gluten feed, and corn oil in its product portfolio). It is argued that the development of biofuel technologies should take operational flexibility into consideration in order to absorb disruptions from unexpected feedstock supply and volatile market conditions.

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