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Macedonia plants two million trees to revive its forests

by Staff Writers
Skopje (AFP) March 12, 2008
Macedonians took a day off work on Wednesday to plant more than two million trees throughout the country in a bid to revive its forests after fires ravaged an estimated 35,000 hectares (87,000 acres) last summer.

The initiative, held under the motto "The Day of the Tree -- Plant Your Future," was organized by Boris Trajanov, prominent Macedonian opera singer and UNESCO Artist for Peace.

More than 200,000 people, among them ministers, policemen, government officials, artists and ambassadors, gathered at some 63 sites throughout the country, to plant a "tree for every citizen of Macedonia," organizers said.

The action was a bid to revive the forest cover in Macedonia, which suffered at least 600 devastating fires in summer 2007, mostly caused by human error, but also due to extremely high temperatures, especially in July.

It was estimated that more than 35,000 hectares of forests were burned, causing damage of up to 20 million euros (30.9 million dollars) and claiming one victim. Experts said that restoring the damaged ecosystem could take up to 50 years.

Macedonian border police joined in the action, planting the trees along the frontiers together with their colleagues from neighbouring Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania.

This is the first such event since Macedonia proclaimed independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

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Secrets Of Cooperation Between Trees And Fungi Revealed
Gent, Belgium (SPX) Mar 07, 2008
Trees and fungi have constructed a close relationship with the passing of the ages. Fungi like to grow between the roots of trees and the arrangement is beneficial to both partners. Their delicate balance is now being revealed for the very first time. VIB researchers at Ghent University in colaboration with an international team have succeeded in unravelling the genetic code of the Laccaria bicolor fungus.

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