Plants are essential for life and development on Earth. Despite their apparent silence and inertia, these beings have developed adaptations and mechanisms to ensure their survival.
On this topic, José Nevárez, Environmental Interpreter, says that plants have evolved a lot since their origin and that before thinking of birds, bats, and humans as reforesters, we should recognize plants as the first reforesters.
Plants and their reforesting power
Seeds are the result of the evolution of plants, and their primary purpose is to ensure the survival of the species. Therefore, they are different in size, shape, and response to the organisms they attract. For example, there are seeds that float like those of the “palo de pollo” (Pterocarpus officinalis) or the “mangle rojo” (Rhizophora mangle), flying seeds like those of the “palo de violeta” (Polygala cowelli) or the “ceiba” (Ceiba pentandra) and seeds that explode like those of the “molinillo” (Hura crepitans) or the “cupey” (Clusia rosea), which allows them to move as far as possible through water, wind or land.
Also, when an extreme event occurs (such as hurricanes and droughts) plants activate a series of mechanisms that help them transfer their genetic material to the next generation. Some of these mechanisms are: increase in flowering and fruiting, adapting the shape of their seeds and even controlling water consumption to allow seedlings that are in the soil absorb more moisture and begin to grow. “In the same way, dying tress are going to pass their nutrients to the soil, so that younger plants can absorb them and continue to grow,” said Nevárez.
But how do plants manage to do all that? Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola – students of plant neurobiology and advocates of plant intelligence – claim in their book, Brilliant Green, that plants have more than 20 senses and can communicate with each other to solve problems and to move around for its surroundings, among other things.
José Nevárez says that plants stimulate us to reach them. For example, we use their fruits as food, and then in some way we disperse their seeds. However, “reforestation as we know it is definitely about emulating processes that occur in nature through birds, bats, and other organisms,” said the environmental planner.
Learn more about reforestation at the Para la Naturaleza Fair.