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"Heart-rot species are key," says Rutter. "These fungi are able to break down the lignin, the very hard part of the wood which is normally incredibly indigestible. Many heart-rot fungi happily eat the central dead wood without harming the living tissue on the outside – and can co-exist with a tree for 600 or 700 years. We want a tree to live a long time so the habitats can continue for as long as possible."solana crypto ownerTo try and mimic this process in younger trees, Ancients of the Future is growing heart-rot fungi on blocks of wood in the lab, inserting the blocks into holes cut in young trees and recovering them with bark. They are left that way for a few years, then the blocks are removed to see if the fungi have taken hold inside the tree.
The project is not the first to try this technique – fungi inoculation has been trialled before in North America where researchers found that fungal inoculation could reduce decay time from 100 years to just three when used in combination with traditional methods.Boddy explains why this new method of veteranisation may work better than previous methods: "We’re putting the fungi we want where we want it, rather than just hoping it turns up."She explains that the hollowing of ancient trees by fungal decay, previously seen as detrimental, is a natural part of the ageing process and can even prolong the lives of trees, feeding them nutrients from the inside.Boddy's team has been using a new, minimally damaging DNA sampling technique to analyse the inoculated wood. It means the researchers are able to take a much smaller sample from the tree and get much more detailed information."Fungi are all around us," says Boddy. "Inside every tree trunk, every leaf, every stem, every bit of plant that’s decaying on the floor, in the soil beneath our feet. But we can’t see them which makes studying them very difficult. Now that we can extract DNA we can see exactly what’s there."
Boddy is optimistic that fungal inoculation could help speed up the ageing process, and that it's possible to bridge the gap between the ancient trees of today and those of the future. But it’s still too soon to tell. Variables such as tree and fungus species, and climate change will have an impact. And we still know very little about heart-rot – how fungi get inside a tree in the first place, how their communities change over time or how that affects decay.These efforts are also a temporary fix. So, what can we do differently to ensure we never see a generational gap like this again? The Ancient Tree Forum offers land owners advice on how to care for their ancient trees – putting up barriers to protect them from livestock, clearing nearby vegetation that is competing for light, creating a root protection zone and propping up heavy limbs or bracing ageing trunks.Energy bills are already due to rise by an average of £139 a year in October, but the price cap restricts further price hikes over winter
The current price cap is £1,138 a year for standard tariffs, but will rise to £1,277 in OctoberPresentational grey lineThe cost of the wholesale price surge is partly being covered by a 12% rise in the energy price cap next month - the maximum price suppliers are allowed to charge customers on a standard tariff.The energy price cap was introduced in January 2019 and is reviewed twice a year.
It applies only to standard variable or default tariffs. These types of tariff are typically the most expensive plan that a supplier offers.When fixed energy deals expire, as they generally do after one or two years, customers are likely to be put on these tariffs.
So far, four energy firms have gone to the wall, including People's Energy and Utility Point, and four more are expected to follow in the coming days.Industry sources fear there may be as few as 10 energy suppliers left by the end of the year, down from 70 in January.Opposition politicians have expressed concern, with Labour's shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, Pat McFadden, describing the problems as a crisis that "should have been foreseen".Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, a former energy secretary, has said it is proof that the UK government's energy policy has been "lamentable".
And speaking on BBC Two's Newsnight programme on Monday, the former Brexit Secretary, David Davis, warned there was a risk of a "cost of living crisis" for new Tory voters such as "the plumber, the bricklayer, the lorry driver".He said his advice to Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be: "You think hard about the ordinary family's take-home pay and what they have to buy with it, because that will be a dictator of how people feel going in to the new year."Stacey Stothard followed all the advice. Aware that energy prices were rising, she shopped around to find a decent fixed deal for her gas and electricity.She saved £300 - or so she thought.
Her new energy supplier went bust and now she will be switched automatically to another one, and she is facing much higher bills, potentially amounting to hundreds of pounds more a year."It is just like watching the meter go up and up," she says. "I did the right thing - not going for the cheapest deal, but choosing a company with a decent customer service record."
Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday as concerns persisted over Chinese property group Evergrande and its impact on the global markets.Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed 2.2% lower, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng index regained earlier losses to end up 0.5%.
There are concerns that Evergrande - a major Chinese property developer - is struggling to meet interest payments on more than $300bn of debts.Regulators have warned it could affect the country's financial system.Investors fear that this could hit big banks exposed to Evergrande and companies like it, causing contagion in global markets.The jitters among the markets also come as the global economy is still recovering from the impact of the coronavirus.On Monday, the Dow Jones index in the US ended 1.8% lower. That followed similar falls in Europe, with Germany's Dax index losing 2.3%, and the Cac 40 in France down 1.7%.Major stock exchanges in mainland China were closed on Monday and Tuesday for the annual mid-Autumn festival.
Despite the recent falls, Japan's Nikkei is up by almost 30% compared to a year ago."The fear of an Evergrande bankruptcy appears to be leading to concern about China's very own Lehman [Brothers] moment, and a big overspill across the region," said Michael Hewson of CMC Markets.
Investors are also nervous that the US Federal Reserve, which meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, will confirm plans to cut back support for the US economy this year.Global stocks have rallied as economies reopen and central banks have provided trillions of dollars in support to boost growth.
But there are concerns of a decline if support is taken away at a time when the Delta variant of coronavirus continues to drag on recovery.Strategists at Morgan Stanley said they expected a 10% correction in America's S&P 500 index as the Fed starts to unwind its support.
They added that signs of a stalling recovery could deepen that slide to 20%.However, other analysts played down fears of a rout, noting that September is typically a bad months for stocks."Overall, September continues to live up to its bad reputation as historically the weakest month of the year. But that doesn't mean it can't rebound," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.And Lindsey Bell of Ally Invest said any pullback may be short-lived.
"Much of investing is about sorting through what's signal and what's noise," she said. "While there is concern about the Evergrande situation infecting global markets, for the long-term investor, this situation may just be noise."Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, will limit use of the platform for children to 40 minutes a day.
The rules will apply to users under 14, who have been authenticated using their real names, and who will be able to access it between 06:00 and 22:00.Parent company Bytedance announced the app’s Youth Mode in a blog post, saying it is the first short-video company in the industry to have these limits.
It comes as China cracks down on teenagers' use of technology.According to Douyin's user agreement there is no minimum age on the platform, but under 18s must obtain the consent of a legal guardian. On sister app TikTok the minimum age is 13.
New educational content - including science experiments, museum exhibitions and historical explainers - has been launched by Douyin as part of Youth Mode.Analysis - Kerry Allen, BBC China media analystThese regulations on China's version of TikTok have been a long time coming.For the last three years, official media has been warning that the growing amount of time young Chinese people are spending on the internet is having an impact on their physical and mental health.
Data from social media agency We Are Social suggests that Chinese people frequently spend more than five hours a day online, two hours of which is on social media.Although this data doesn't include those under the age of 16, online learning has been very present in young Chinese people's lives over the last year because of Covid-19. Added to that, official broadcaster CGTN says 95% of China's youth population is online nowadays - 183 million minors.
Back in 2018, China's regulators said that they were seeking to limit the amount of time that minors spent online, because of rising levels of near-sightedness among children.Douyin, much like TikTok, is particularly popular with young audiences, and so China's top regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, has urged it to "create a good cyberspace environment for the healthy development of young people".
Back in 2019, Douyin and rival service Kuaishou began trialling "anti-addiction measures". They introduced child locks, and experimented with functions that could limit the amount of time children spent on these platforms.Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, continues limiting its services amid the ongoing global regulatory scrutiny, announcing new trading restrictions in Australia.