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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit          September 24, 2014

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US joins other nations in deforestation accord at UN summit
Los Angeles Times
Moving to halt a powerful contributor to climate change, the U.S. has joined more than 110 corporations, civil society groups and governments to launch a global initiative to reduce deforestation sharply over the next 15 years, with the goal of eliminating the practice by 2030. The “New York Declaration on Forests,” unveiled at the U.N. Climate Summit, would reduce between 4.5 billion and 8.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually, according to the U.N. Development Program.
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Trees that can increase biomass production
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid via ScienceDaily
Thanks to biotechnology, researchers at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) have increased the production of woody species. This result is of great interest to the energy market. By modifying the gene expressions responsible for the branch growth during the first year of woody species, researchers of the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics, a joint centre of the UPM and the The National Institute for Agricultural Research and Experimentation have found a way of increasing biomass production of a forest plantation without altering its growth, composition or the wood anatomy.
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Plant variants point the way to improved biofuel production
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council via (e) Science News
Manufacturing biofuels from food crop by-products such as straw could be made quicker and cheaper thanks to the work of scientists in the U.K. and France. Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have discovered variant straw plants whose cell walls are more easily broken down to make biofuels, but which are not significantly smaller or weaker than regular plants.
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The lumber market is starting to show cracks
Investopedia
The price of lumber is a key indicator used by investors to determine the strength of certain sectors of the economy such as housing. Data from July revealed that U.S. housing starts surged to an eight-month high. Given the strong correlation between lumber prices and housing starts, traders would expect to see bullish chart patterns developing on the chart of the underlying commodity.
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Turning winery waste into biofuels
Phys.Org
Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology have developed a technique for converting winery waste into compounds that could have potential value as biofuels or medicines. Australia is the world's sixth largest wine producer, with around 1.75 million tons of grapes crushed for wine every year. After the final pressing, more than half of the grapes crushed end up as biomass waste comprised of skins, pulp, stalks and seeds.
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Manufacturing building materials from plants and waste
Sourceable
In some applications, fiberglass insulation, foam insulation and wood can be replaced by manufactured alternatives that are made from waste materials and select raw materials. Cellulose offers huge potential for building materials. When processed, cellulose can be made into materials that replace wood, plastic and brick.
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Making the most of woody biomass
Biomass Magazine
A common questions scientists hear is, "How readily can you source wood biomass?" If you have to source woody biomass from across a great distance, expending a great deal of transportation fuel in the process, then the prospect of burning biomass suddenly grows less green, less efficient and less cost-effective. As with any fuel source, decisions about biomass should be made with a high degree of geographical and contextual awareness.
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Wildfire prevention costs far less than fires
Northern Arizona University via Live Science (opinion)
The economics of wildfires are complex and grow more so as environmental conditions evolve. The average wildfire season has stretched from five months in the 1970s to seven months in 2014, according to the report "Playing With Fire" from the Union of Concerned Scientists. But effective planning has not kept pace.
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Lake Forest to remove another 1,700 ash trees
Chicago Tribune
Lake Forest, Illinois, will remove another 1,700 ash trees this year to battle the severe infestation of the emerald ash borer, and has tagged 150 for the state to remove along the Illinois Route 43 corridor. The city planted 367 ash trees last spring and expects to plant 200 more this fall.
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Search for better biofuels microbes leads to the human gut
Phys.Org
Scientists have scoured cow rumens and termite guts for microbes that can efficiently break down plant cell walls for the production of next-generation biofuels, but some of the best microbial candidates actually may reside in the human lower intestine, researchers report. Their study, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to use biochemical approaches to confirm the hypothesis that microbes in the human gut can digest fiber, breaking it down into simple sugars in order to ferment them into nutrients that nourish human cells.
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Donuts companies cutting palm oil from deforestation
news.mongabay.com via The Epoch Times
Two of the world’s largest doughnut brands have committed to sourcing safeguards that move them toward eliminating deforestation from their palm oil supply chains. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Dunkin’ Brands — the owner of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins — both announced policies that go beyond earlier commitments to simply buy palm oil certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an eco-certification standard.
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