Nearly half of the Caatinga, the only exclusively Brazilian biome, has been destroyed and 13% of its territory has already been lost to desertification. A project at Rio Grande do Norte Federal University is using PVC pipes to lengthen and accelerate root growth in native plant species that have trouble drawing water from degraded soil. Previous restoration methods in the Caatinga resulted in mortality rates near 70% after transplant, but this new method reverses that figure, raising survival rates to 70%. The Caatinga is the most densely populated semiarid region in the world and the only exclusively Brazilian biome. The region needs assistance to prevent it from becoming an immense desert. Nearly half of the Caatinga has already been destroyed — some 840,000 square kilometers (324,300 square miles) — and there are indications that this symbol of resilience — home to diverse and endemic species — is undergoing a desertification process that has already consumed 13% of its territory. The Caatinga is home to plants that have adapted to seasonal rainfall extremes, like the iconic umbu tree ( Spondias tuberosa ) that stores water in its roots. But the biome can no longer rely solely on evolution and the […]

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