Today’s Solutions: November 26, 2022

Science is taking the fight against climate change underground—literally.

The Society for the Protection of Underground Networks is on a mission to uncover the mysteries of the vast fungal networks found in the soil under our feet. We know that there’s an underground network comprised of fungi connected to plant roots that helps trees to share and recycle nutrients, as well as store CO2 in the soil.

Unfortunately, not much is known about this massive fungal network, known as the Wood Wide Web, nor the role it plays in fighting climate change, but scientists are determined to map and preserve the network to better understand it and to bring underground conservation to the fore.

Over the next 18 months, local mycologists or “myconauts” will work to collect 10,000 samples to create a global map of fungal hotspots. Machine learning will then fill in the blanks to construct a picture of the function of fungal networks and how they act as carbon sinks.

This project is the beginning of an “underground climate movement” to defend “this ancient life support system,” said professor of evolutionary biology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Toby Kiers.

The fungal network needs our protection because it is constantly threatened by agricultural expansion, the use of fertilizers and pesticides, deforestation, and urbanization. Experts estimate that five billion tons of carbon dioxide absorbed from the air is locked into the soil with the help of fungal networks, but this number could be at least three times higher.

“If we lose this system, this is going to have really serious consequences for our ability to fight climate change,” Prof. Kiers told the BBC, adding that the fungi are “the invisible ecosystem engineers and their loss is totally undocumented.”

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

How the capital of Lithuania is turning itself into a vast open-air cafe

For many cities around the world, the need for social distancing has motivated cities to experiment with different urban planning schemes. Recently, we published ...

Read More

These bladeless wind turbines could revolutionize the renewable sector

Bladeless wind turbines may sound counterintuitive, but a new startup aims to prove that these devices could reinvent the way we harness wind power ...

Read More

British 13-year-old finds hoard of Bronze Age artifacts with her metal detector

Thirteen year old Milly Hardwich was using her metal detector for the first time in Royston, England when she came upon something unexpected. Milly ...

Read More

LA may ban the construction of new gas stations

In the face of the climate emergency, officials in Los Angeles are working on policies to stop the construction of new gas stations. Being ...

Read More