Woodlands as players in human history

The great Cambridge botanist Oliver Rackham has a new book out, called “Woodlands.” Insofar as it is fair to say that the life work of such a Renaissance Man has only one subject, woodlands is it, and how trees are not “merely part of the theatre of landscape in which human history is played out, or the passive recipients of whatever destiny humanity foists on them . . . (they are) actors in the play.” There’s an admiring and knowledgeable review here.

Ancient Greek wine

Check out this interesting article on the surprising properties of some of the wines produced in some regions of ancient Greece as a result of the addition of various herbs. I wonder if there is enough information in the relevant texts to reproduce some of these concoctions.

Chia book out

There’s a new book out on “chia,” Salvia hispanica, a “forgotten crop of the Aztecs.” I haven’t seen it, but it seems pretty comprehensive. There’s a review here. Chia is interesting among other reasons because although a good source of omega-3 fatty acid it doesn’t give off a “fishy” flavour.

Micropropagating sweet potatoes

According to the Carolina, USA farmer featured in this article, “micropropagation is the name of the game in sweet potatoes.” “The bottom line is a very uniform crop,” he adds. That’s not necessarily everywhere a good thing, of course, but clean planting material is always important.

Conserving animal genetic resources in Vietnam

A CIRAD project is using both somatic cloning and in situ approaches to conserve genetic resources of various threatened useful wild animals (including livestock relatives) in the highands of Vietnam. GIS is also being used to map genetic diversity as measured by molecular markers. The results will be extended to prepare a conservation strategy for the region as a whole.