Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


High-altitude moss feels at home in the lab

Scientists have recreated typical Indonesian climatic conditions in a New Zealand laboratory as part of a major environmental project in Irian Jaya.

HortResearch scientist Jill Stanley and colleague Rowan Buxton from Landcare are looking at the possibility of using moss to help return land affected by copper mining to its natural state.

Field trials are being carried out 2,200m above sea level at the mine, but the scientists are also using the National Climate Laboratory at Palmerston North to fast-track the project.

The computer-controlled Climate Lab can replicate conditions from sub-Antarctic to tropical at the touch of a button, so weather conditions at the mine posed to problem. Despite being near the tropics, high altitude brings the ambient temperature down, light levels are low and there's rain almost every day.

The mine operators, PT Freeport Indonesia, are committed to restoring 2,000 acres to natural native vegetation but the rock- strewn ground is low in nutrients and organic matter, so revegetation is difficult and slow. Transplanting native species is time consuming and there is a low survival rate.

Mosses are often the first plants to establish on the surface and other plants grow up through them. PT Freeport Indonesia thought it would be a good idea to deliberately establish mosses in an attempt to speed up the revegetation process.

The Climate Lab trials will help to establish protocols for speeding up moss development. Samples were sent from Irian Jaya and planted out in the lab. So far a number of species have shown good early growth on a number of rock types and there are indications that application of phosphorus encouraged moss growth.

"The fast growth on some plots is very encouraging," said Jill. "The fact that trends are already emerging suggests we are on track for selecting a restricted number of protocols for moss revegetation for field testing at the end of this trial.

"It appears that there may be interactions between individual moss species and the fertilisers, propagation methods and covers used. These interactions will need to be considered carefully when combinations are selected for each rock type."

Jill and Rowan visited the mine last year to see experimental plots and also to visit nearby glaciers.

"It was the most exciting field trip I've ever had," said Jill. "It's important and interesting work. If we can help to restore the landscape then that's a very positive thing."


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>

ALSO:

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

ALSO:

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news