Monday, 24 November 2014

Plant kingdom recruits humans for seed dispersal, gives us Doggy Treats.

Primates are "indispensable for regeneration of tropical forests" through seed dispersion.  "In tropical rain forests, the seeds of 80 to 90 percent of trees and lianas are dispersed by animals. In addition to primates, birds and bats are the major animal groups that are responsible for seed dispersal."

A ten foot high bank of blackberries
near Sidney BC.  
We Sapiens are primates too and have been recruited to spread plants throughout the new and old worlds. First the Polynesians and then Caucasians brought the flora of South Asia and the Caribbean to the pacific islands where it would flourish.  Without us, bananas and bougainvillea and coconuts would never have reached this near ideal environment to grow and reproduce. If you spend time on Tahiti, you'll see that almost every significant plant and beautiful flower is introduced as the old timers got dislodged.   Self important people decry the invasive species and predict the end of a stable world ecology.   Plants don't care.  They got what they needed, access to prime habitat.  Our reward, some pretty colours, smells and fruity bites. That's like a doggy treat from the plant kingdom.

Here on Vancouver Island, the broom and gorse and blackberry thickets almost define the landscape at the margins. That's hardly a hundred and fifty years of plant history, a successful colonization. Some groups actually spend time trying to extirpate these colonists, feeling moral ripping out immigrants to re-establish Eden. It's like a zoning bylaw to keep Hispanics and Asians out of a nice Caucasian neighbourhood.  Ulex and Rubus are not pleased.

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