In this issue

Issue 72

CFC rise slows
International efforts to limit the emission of ozone-depleting chemicals into the atmosphere appear to be working, albeit slowly. While the amount of these chemicals continues to rise, the rate of increase has dropped markedly.
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Boost for pest-control research
Environmentally benign, humane and species-specific control agents for pests such as rabbits and foxes are the targets of a recently announced Cooperative Research Centre involving the CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology.
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Managing the coast
The 'Coastal Zone' is home to many of Australia's environmental woes with some 85 per cent of Australians living near the coast. Conflicts between development and conservation crop up regularly as residential and tourist pressures grow. The 'Coastal Zone Project' was launched with a broad aim of developing a better understanding of how various elements of the coastal zone work and especially how they interact.
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Getting drier in the West
Rainfall in Western Australia's south-west has declined substantially in the past 60 years. Researchers from the Climate Impact Group at CSIRO's Division of Atmospheric Research are trying to pinpoint the physical cause of the south-west's rainfall deficiency by studying regional atmospheric and ocean circulation features.
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People on the move: Where? Why?
Despite calls for urban consolidation, people continue to move from inner areas to city fringes and beyond. Australian governments and planners have tried for decades to consolidate and compact the cities and make Australian urban life more efficient and European-like. Today, urban consolidation is again on the agenda, due in part to government planning on ways to reduce global warming or the enhanced greenhouse effect. The question facing the planners is: 'How can urban consolidation be made to work this time?'
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What can be done about toxic algal blooms?
Blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) are perhaps the most primitive living things on Earth. In response to appropriate environmental conditions, they undergo spectacular population explosions, resulting in so-called algal blooms that are toxic to a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial animals. Over the past year a deadly combination of drought, high summer temperatures, river flows lowered by withdrawals of water for irrigation, and inputs of nutrients from agriculture and townships created ideal conditions for a massive bloom of Anabaena. This article takes an extensive look at the problem of toxic algal blooms and proposes that the long-term answer may lie in better catchment and river management and the role of bio-control.
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Catching coal ash
Over the past decade, the production of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) by power stations has attracted considerable attention, and a great deal of scientific and engineering effort is being devoted to minimise emissions. Just as important is the need to control the solid waste that power stations generate. This article looks at ways to further reduce fly ash emissions from power stations and to improve techniques for fly ash utilisation.
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New evidence emerges on diet-cancer links
Diet is recognised as an important factor in the cause of cancer. Now new research indicates that to maintain a healthy diet we need to do more than avoid fatty or protein-rich foods; we also need to consider the way we cook some foods and the role of food in preventing cancer. Scientists at the CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition have also confirmed links between dietary factors and the body's ability to protect itself against two major types of cancer - breast and pancreas.
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Australian trees abroad
Native Australian trees are very popular outside this continent and abroad they provide fuelwood, pulpwood, building timber, shade and shelter, as well as reclaiming weed-infested land and being developed as a food source.
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Bushfires in the 'greenhouse'
Australia's worst bushfires tend to earn macabre epithets. The prospect of witnessing devastating bushfires is an alarming thought. Yet the possibility of meteorological conditions similar to those on Ash Wednesday recurring frequently is the worrying conclusion of theoretical research by scientists at CSIRO's Division of Forestry and Monash University.
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BT resistance emerges
The ingenuity and flexibility of insects continues to confound us. More than 500 insect species are known today to be resistant to one or more chemical pesticides, and evidence is rapidly emerging to indicate that one of our most environmentally friendly weapons against insect pests - bacterial toxin - may have a limited future.
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Cool troughs
Farmers and scientists have long known that the quality of the water in stock troughs is crucial to animals' well-being, and that in summer months heat stress caused by insufficient water, or low-quality water, can lead to dehydration, weight loss or illness. Researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of shading water troughs in improving and maintaining water quality.
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Tracing lead contamination at Broken Hill
Lead dust from mines and dumps in the western New South Wales city of Broken Hill is apparently jeopardising the health of many of the city's young children. Many studies have linked lead with intellectual impairment in young children, even at levels commonly found in mining towns and industrial areas.
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Tracking smog in Perth
Air pollution researchers in Western Australia have begun an extensive study of air quality in Perth using the Airtrak monitoring system in an effort to better understand the city's growing smog problem.
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A sophisticated sniffer
Humans have such a poor sense of smell that we employ other species to do our sniffing for us. A team of more than 20 scientists from six of CSIRO's Divisions are working to develop a new generation of biosensors so sophisticated that they are more efficient than many animals' noses.
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