RIO DE JANEIRO, May 7 (Tierramérica).- The Luiz de Queiroz School of Higher Studies in Agriculture at the University of São Paulo has developed a technique to increase the energy production capacity of sugar cane and eucalyptus waste.
These biomass materials were subjected to four different heat treatments: 250 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes; 250 degrees for two hours; 280 degrees for 30 minutes; and 280 degrees for two hours.
The treatment increased the durability and reduced the moisture content of the plant wastes, resulting in a greater concentration of energy.
“Calorific power, which is the amount of energy released per unit of mass, increased proportionally with the rise in temperature,” explained engineer Juliana Siviero dos Santos, who headed up the research.
“The greatest increase was observed in the eucalyptus waste that was treated at 280 degrees for two hours, with a 25.7 percent increase in its calorific power,” she told Tierramérica. “The increase observed in the sugar cane bagasse was 10.2 percent.”
Moringa Trees for Reforestation and Nutrition
TEGUCIGALPA, May 7 (Tierramérica).- The moringa tree (Moringa oleifera), native to India, is being used in Honduras to reforest the area around the Nacaome River dam, in the southern department of Valle, as well as to provide a nutritious source of food for local communities.
The initiative is being promoted by the non-governmental organization BioPlanet. Jack Haime, a representative of the organization, told Tierramérica that the area around the dam is being reforested with 400 moringa trees as part of a pilot project in southern Honduras, a region with high rates of poverty and dry soils.
According to Haime, moringa trees can adapt to any type of soil, and their leaves, flowers and seed pods can contribute to improving the diets of poor communities.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has announced similar initiatives in various parts of western Honduras, which is another area of high poverty.
Chaco Forests Threatened by Cattle Ranching
BUENOS AIRES, May 7 (Tierramérica).- The Argentine branch of the environmental organization Greenpeace has denounced the alleged deforestation of an area of forest where logging is restricted in the northeastern province of Chaco.
“This is covert deforestation,” Hernán Giardini of Greenpeace Argentina told Tierramérica. “They leave a few isolated trees standing and are wiping out the understory, where animals feed, with the intention of doubling cattle stocks by 2015,” he reported.
Under a forest law passed in 2007, each province was required to formulate land zoning regulations for forest areas. Chaco did so in 2009, and established areas in which only sustainable activity is allowed.
One of these areas is now being cleared to make way for intensive livestock raising, Greenpeace alleges.
Partnership to Protect Environmental Rights
MEXICO CITY, May 7 (Tierramérica).- The non-governmental Mexican Center of Environmental Law (CEMDA) and the public but autonomous National Human Rights Commission have signed an agreement for the protection of human rights guarantees.
“The Mexican state must devote priority attention to the defense and protection of the environment, as well as guaranteeing safe conditions for defenders of the environment to do their work,” CEMDA general director Gustavo Alanís told Tierramérica.
At least 12 environmental activists were murdered in Mexico between 2006 and 2012, according to the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, published by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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