Verónica Couto Antelo
Due to the current circumstances, the General Assembly on Geoscience that was going to take place all this week in Vienna has become virtual. You can follow it with the hashtag #shareEGU20 and some CREAF researchers are participating.
With spring almost upon us, CREAF’s experts are reporting that this year could be a chance for Catalonia’s forests to recover from accumulated past droughts and the devastating effects of the pine processionary. There will be no let-up for the territory’s undergrowth, however, with the box tree moth’s continuing expansion leaving just 20% of box plants with new growth.
Through research conducted on young Scots pine trees and Diprion pini, a sawfly common to conifer forests in the Northern Hemisphere, scientists have shown, for the first time, how trees take steps to protect themselves against insect infestation even before eggs are laid on them.
A study involving three CREAF researchers has found that plants with low nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in their leaves do not reproduce every year to enable them to reproduce on a huge scale in years in which conditions are right. Oaks, holm oaks and beeches are examples of trees that behave in such a way.
A work by CSIC and CREAF scientists highlights that wild plants are more fertile and more resistant to pests than traditional crop varieties because their roots release substances that help them to capture more nutrients and fight pathogenic bacteria and fungi in the soil. If these natural properties were transferred to conventional cultivated varieties, agricultural yield could be improved and the ecological impacts of pesticides and industrial fertilizers reduced.