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Measuring the stress of forested areas
Date:7/22/2008

This release is available in Spanish.

Plants undergo stress because of lack of water, due to the heat or the cold or to excess of light. A research team from the University of the Basque Country have analysed the substances that are triggered in plants to protect themselves, with the goal of choosing the species that is best suited to the environment during reforestation under adverse environmental conditions.

Droughts, extreme temperatures, contamination, and so on all are harmful to plants. On occasions, the damage is caused by humans. For example, as a consequence of cutting down trees, plants used to shady conditions may be exposed to an excess of light. However, in most cases it is nature itself that causes the stress. In spring, plants have sufficient average humidity and temperatures, i.e. what scientists deem 'optimum conditions'. But in winter they have to withstand considerable cold and in summer, on the other hand, high temperatures and droughts: adverse environmental factors that generate stress situations. Thus, in winter and in summer, the light which under normal conditions would be a source of energy becomes excessive, given that the metabolism of the plants under these conditions is not able to assimilate it. This process is known as photo-oxidative stress.

Some plants are incapable of withstanding this stress unable to dissipate the excess energy, generating a chain reaction by which they deteriorate and die. Other species, on the other hand, undergo processes of acclimatising themselves to the new situation and trigger chemical compounds that act to protect them. These species are the object of interest of a research team from the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). The members of this team called EKOFISKO and led b
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Contact: Alaitz Ochoa de Eribe
alaitzo@elhuyar.com
34-688-673-679
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert  

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