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January 21 2013

Can oil save the rainforest?


When another new oil field was found beneath the Amazon jungle, campaigners feared the worst. But a radical and daring plan to ransom the drilling rights could save the planet's most biodiverse area.

American biologist Kelly Swing thwacks a bush with his butterfly net and a dozen or so bugs and insects drop in. One is a harvester, or daddy-long-legs, another a jumpin.

Last month, some Yale University undergrads stumbled across a mushroom capable of eating polyurethane plastic. It could revolutionise landfills. "Frankly," says Swing, "no one knows what is here."

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