Can Roots Save the World?


One hardly thinks about the root systems behind the massive trees, the beautiful plants we see growing and the crops and vegetables we consume on a day to day basis. However, plant roots are very significant to the survival and continuity of our species. Roots are so important that there is an entire field of study dedicated to its research. After all, there is a need to ensure that future generations have a food supply when natural disasters and natural forms of erosion and degradation inevitably take effect. There is also the need to preserve this important part of the respiration cycle.

In countries where natural disasters like volcanoes destroy large portions of land and cause soil erosion, preserving and restoring root systems becomes an important endeavor. Roots also defend against pathogens, pests and toxins. Efforts to make fertilizing more efficient while safeguarding the environment is a part of the root-preservation process.

The feature shows how the plants themselves adapt to the environment to ensure they can either produce crops all year round or adjust to the seasons. We also get a glimpse of the type of groundbreaking research that finds innovative ways to allow plants to adapt to climate change while also working to prevent it. Some roots form a network of plants growing together where the interconnected system makes it difficult to destroy the growth underneath. Instead, they allow the visible plants to be removed and continuously regenerate beneath the soil.

Plants stabilize the soil, they diminish the energy of larger waves before they reach land. They contribute to coastal protection and they allow the land to grow and expand.

Researchers have even came up with a support structure that is made from potato starch so that it can act as a temporary support system to the plants being eroded until the soil is strengthened enough and it dissolves on its own.

They have even found that rare earth metals can be mined using the special roots of the plants. Corn, buckwheat and sugarcane are some of the plants that can be used to mine rare earth minerals from the soil.

If you are interested in environmental preservation, this will be an interesting and enlightening documentary for you.

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