Trade and climate change increase pest threat to Europe’s forests

Europe’s forests face a growing threat from pests due to global trade and climate change, but scientists are developing techniques that can give an early warning of infestations to help combat damaging insects and diseases. Pests are responsible for damaging 35 million hectares of forest around the world every year. In the Mediterranean region alone an area the … Read more

Q&A: Plate tectonics is fundamental to understanding Earth’s evolution – but big questions remain

The division of the Earth’s surface into seven major mobile plates is fundamental to our planet’s uniqueness, creating a habitable environment and possibly the conditions under which life itself originated. The theory of plate tectonics is 50 years old, but there are many puzzles left to answer, says Dr Kate Rychert, who studies the geology … Read more

‘Four times more toxic’: How wildfire smoke ages over time

Smoke from wildfires can rise many kilometres into the stratosphere and cause air pollution in areas far away from where the flames actually were. Image credit - Pixabay/Saiho, licenced under Pixabay licence

Enormous plumes of smoke thrown into the atmosphere by uncontrolled wildfires may be affecting the health of people living hundreds of miles away. Every year, thousands of fires engulf forests, grasslands and moors across Europe. In 2018, more than 204,861 hectares of land were left burnt in Europe and other countries around the Mediterranean, while the previous … Read more

Dairy waste is being turned into bioplastics and plant food

Dairies generate a substantial amount of organic waste, including wastewater and whey, which are now being used to create products like bioplastics. Image credit - Keith Weller/USDA/Wikimedia, public domain

Sarah Wild Dairies in Europe are major economic drivers in rural areas, but they produce significant waste from cleaning and processing. Wastewater and milk residue, which are typically disposed of, are now being turned into new products such as phosphate-rich fertiliser and bioplastics. The EU produced 172.2 million tonnes of raw milk in 2018 and demand for milk is … Read more