The forests of Kilimanjaro are unusual for two reasons. One is that there is no bamboo zone, unlike the other East African mountains which have extensive bamboo forests. Another is that it was thought that there were only a few rare plants in the Kilimanjaro forests. Research by Hemp has explained the missing bamboo and uncovered a host of rare plants.
The missing bamboo is caused by a lack of elephants. Elephants are needed to create disturbance which encourages bamboo regeneration. However, on Kilimanjaro the lower slopes of the mountain are covered in cultivation preventing elephants from ascending into the forest “There are elephants on the dry side of the mountain” says Hemp “but the valleys are too steep and deep for elephants to traverse to the wet side where the bamboo could grow”. The research demonstrates the complex links between plants and animals and the far reaching effects of changes caused by humans.
The rare plants were found in forest relicts in the deepest valleys of the cultivated lower areas suggesting that a rich forest flora once covered Mt. Kilimanjaro. The plants included a forest tree 40 m high that was new to science. “Kilimanjaro has long been excluded from the tropical rainforest biodiversity hotspot of Tanzania, but these exciting finds change the whole way we think about forest diversity of eastern Africa” said Jon Lovett, an expert in African biodiversity at the University of York.
However, the forests of Kilimanjaro are changing. Fires and logging have had a major impact on the forests. Fire in particular is reducing extent of the highest cloud forests. “The cloud forests are draped in moss and are an important water source as they catch moisture from the mist which shrouds them” explains Hemp “when they are burnt the hydrology of the whole mountain is affected”.
Kate Stinchcombe | alfa
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses