A breeze will please the trees?
Sapling slump stumps biosphere boffins
When scientists grew trees in an artificial eco-system they couldn’t understand why they were falling over before maturity. It turns out that trees need more than sun and water to survive and thrive.
In Arizona the science research facility of Biosphere 2 has since 1991 been at the heart of a range of important studies as it follows a mandate of ‘lifelong learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe.’ Here everything is thoroughly regulated and stringently tested within a perfect growing environment.
Which made it all the more interesting to the scientific team when they discovered that, while the rainforest and savannah pioneer species grew rapidly, these trees were collapsing before maturity.
It turns out you can have too much of a good thing – trees need wind to fight against every now and then. They grow ‘stress wood’ to deal with the natural challenges from this wind and in doing so strengthen their core and root systems.
So too do natural forest environments require effective seed dispersal to ensure ongoing diversity and health. There are a huge number of tree species that rely on birds to take their seeds beyond the immediate environs.
It’s why it’s so important to help the birds, support the trees and, in your own small way, to protect the planet for the years ahead.