Agilent and the Rise of “Vertical Forests”

Plants and greenery enhance communities.  They beautify surroundings.  They absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, contributing to a cleaner and safer environment.

Many cities designate areas of undeveloped land for greenbelt use.  But what does a city do when it has already been completely developed, with no remaining land to build a park or nature preserve?

One answer: build upward.

Vertical forests represent a new trend in urban planning.

China is planning Nanjing Vertical Forest in a densely populated area of that city.  Two towers (200 and 100 meters high) will be covered with 1,100 trees and 2,500 other plants.  These florae are expected to absorb more than 25 tons of carbon dioxide every year while generating 60 kg of oxygen every day.  The structures will help air quality and pollution in a city of more than 8 million inhabitants.

Nanjing Vertical Forest is expected to be completed in 2018.  It is designed by architect Stefano Boeri, who completed a similar vertical forest in Milan, Italy (Bosco Verticale) that opened in 2014.

Photos from wikimedia commons (commons.wikimedia.org)

Photos from wikimedia commons

 

Believe it or not, Agilent is involved in the research of vertical forests!

Scientists in Japan and Thailand studied how plant diversity and distribution change along a vertical structure in a tropical forest.  They analyzed leaf samples from 27 different plant species in 19 vertical layers ranging from 1 to 34 meters above ground.

They discovered that fungi had the highest diversity of species (but the lowest frequency of individual units) in layers closest to the forest floor.  Conversely, more units of similar species were found at higher levels in the canopy.  This work helps scientists understand how large changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of a particular species of flora.

The researchers employed next-generation sequencing technologies in their work, including an Agilent Bioanalyzer DNA High Sensitivity Kit.


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