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EYE ON AFRICA

Tears and champagne as commercial flights resume between Ethiopia and Eritrea

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THE INTERVIEW

UN warns of 'conspiracy of complacency' in fighting HIV

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MEDIAWATCH

Nicaragua: another descent into dictatorship?

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THE DEBATE

Nicaragua's Boiling Point: Americas divided over Ortega's crackdown

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FRENCH CONNECTIONS

What the World Cup win means for France

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MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

'Nation-state' bill sparks controversy in Israel

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FOCUS

Young women in China go under the knife to improve job prospects

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ENCORE!

Film show: Why we love 'Ant-man and the Wasp'

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BUSINESS DAILY

Brussels to slap $5 billion fine on Google

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DOWN TO EARTH

We meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 7.20 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2015-02-16

Forests worth more alive than dead

We are Down to Earth in Peru on a police patrol to La Pampa, a wasteland on the outskirts of the Amazon. In the last six years 50,000 hectares of rainforest have been obliterated in this region, most of it due to illegal gold mining. Today the authorities are clamping down.

Despite efforts to halt deforestation, the number of trees being cut in Peru has jumped 80% since the start of the century. NGOs such as Rainforest Alliance are working with local communities to prove that protecting the forest - and adding value to existing renewable resources - offers a more lucrative and sustainable income over the long term. Tourism could be the most promising. If visitors are willing to pay large amounts to see unspoiled virgin rainforests, it may be the most powerful evidence that trees in the Amazon are worth more alive than dead.

‘‘Trees are as alive as us but the problem is we don't feel attached to them’’
 
French director Luc Jacquet’s film ‘Once Upon a Forest’ tries to elicit an emotional response in the audience, using animation to convey that trees and humans are surprisingly similar. Scientists, too, are studying how to make people care. At the University of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory researchers say they’ve found a way to reduce paper consumption by turning participants into virtual tree-cutters.
 
Biotechnology: making it impossible to cheat the system
 
Back in Peru, Dennis del Castillo is an agronomist looking for a global solution to the illegal trafficking of timber. Over the next three years he’ll create a DNA bank of trees eligible for exportation, making it possible to trace the precise origin of wood bound for customers in Europe, the United States or Asia.

By Alice CAMPAIGNOLLE , Julie DUNGELHOEFF , Mairead DUNDAS , Marie SCHUSTER , Marina BERTSCH , Yara JAMALI ELO

Archives

2018-07-13 Molly HALL

Portugal: Eucalyptus trees under fire

Join us on Down To Earth as we return to the scene of Portugal's deadliest wildfires. Last year, 115 people were killed and 500,000 hectares of land scorched. The poor emergency...

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2018-06-29 Molly HALL

Menstruation: Green is the new red

Menstruation is a natural part of every woman's life. The average woman will use some 10,000 single-use pads and tampons in her lifetime. They may be disposable, but they’re not...

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2018-06-15 Molly HALL

Iran's water crisis

It's an environmental issue that's become a thorny political problem. Iran has been experiencing severe drought for several years. A growing population, increased water...

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2018-06-01 Marina BERTSCH

France’s disappearing birds

Across France, fields have gone quiet… In 20 years, one-third of the country’s birds have disappeared. Meadow Pipits and Partridges have nearly been wiped out. It’s a...

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2018-05-18 Florence VILLEMINOT

Could thawing permafrost unleash long-gone deadly viruses?

In the remote town of Longyearbyen, in Norway’s Arctic region, the ground is permanently frozen. As temperatures rise, the thawing permafrost could open a Pandora's box, with...

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