In this issue

Issue 7


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Understanding fire in the forest
Fire is as natural a part of most Australian forests as gum trees and wattles. Bushfires can do enormous damage, but forest trees and shrubs are great fire survivors. The challenge is to manage fire so that people and their property don't get hurt and the forests are preserved.
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Carbon dioxide and climate change
Carbon dioxide is as essential to life as oxygen, so it can hardly be described as a pollutant. But that doesn't mean we can pour ever-increasing amounts of it into the air and be certain nothing will change for the worse.
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Wastes: other people’s raw materials
Mr Elijah Tauber of the CSIRO Division of Building Research is no newcomer to waste recycling research. He began in 1964 — well before it became fashionable. He can take credit for quite a number of building materials derived from wastes that are now used by the construction industry. His latest idea is a new extra-safe road-surfacing material made from, among other things, steel-plant slag and fly ash.
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An aid for Townsville planners
Townsville is Queensland's northern-most growth centre. As the city spreads, the city council, engineering consultants, and all the other experts who plan, and prepare impact statements and the like, need information about the land that surrounds the town.
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Options for Queensland’s sands
We have heard a lot recently about Fraser Island, Cooloola, and Stradbroke Island. Arguments about how they should be used have deeply divided the community. Perhaps the main lesson that has come out of the disputes is that in spite of the shouting we really don't know very much about these areas.
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Toxic metals around Port Pirie
What happens to the countryside around a lead smelter? This was the question that the CSIRO Division of Soils recently set out to answer. Scientists from the Division studied the region around Port Pirie in South Australia, since a lead smelter has been operating there for nearly 90 years.
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Petrichor: rain’s piquant perfume
Remember that delightful fragrance when rain breaks the summer drought? Its cause has always intrigued people. Now we know the answer. The smell comes from a yellowish oil trapped in the rocks and soil.
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