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In the coming years, artificial flowers are set to take a huge leap.
Artificial plants are already ubiquitous, growing everywhere from food crops to toilet bowls.
They’re being used in everything from cleaning products to medicine, and they’re being grown by billions of people around the world.
But what are artificial flowers doing to the world’s biodiversity?
In a world where biodiversity is rapidly declining, what can be done to help restore it?
And that’s what researchers from the University of Adelaide are trying to find out.
They’re trying to figure out what’s keeping the natural world’s ecological systems in check.
This week, they released their first results of their study into the issue.
They found that natural flowers are far more likely to be found in the world than artificial ones, and that the number of plants that are native to the natural environment is far more stable than the number that are genetically engineered.
So while the world may be experiencing rapid biodiversity loss, there’s still hope for the natural worlds.
“There’s no doubt that if we were to manage the impact of artificial species on the natural environments, it would have a very large impact on the world,” Professor Paul MacLeod from the Department of Biological Sciences said.
“In terms of the biodiversity of the natural systems, if we can manage the natural biodiversity of artificial plants to a greater extent, then we would have an enormous impact.”
While it’s not yet known how artificial flowers might affect the natural ecosystems in the future, Professor MacLeod said the research had shown that it would take the right combination of factors.
For example, artificial plants can take up a lot of water, making them less drought-tolerant.
That would mean that natural landscapes would be more suitable for the growth of artificial flowers.
“So in the long run, it’s good to think about the future,” he said.
Professor MacLeod also said it was possible to improve artificial plants’ chances of surviving.
“When we look at the impact on biodiversity, we can look at some of the factors that may have played a role in the decline of biodiversity,” he added.
“Some of the effects of the growth rate of artificial vegetation, for example, are being influenced by other factors like the way in which artificial flowers grow and how they’re distributed.”
Other things like the distribution of artificial seeds and seeds in natural ecosystems are also being considered.
“Professor Macleods team is planning to expand their research into the effects that artificial flowers have on the biosphere, including their effect on climate change.