Trees are boon of nature

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Trees are boon of nature

By Whit Bronaugh When it still roamed the earth, the Columbian mammoth acted as a dispersal system for many tree species that still exist today. Reading this article may cause a whiplash-inducing paradigm shift.

You will no longer view wild areas the same way. You may even start to see ghosts. Consider the fruit of the Osage-orange, named Trees are boon of nature the Osage Indians associated with its range.

Nature. Read the latest scientific research on the natural world, ecology and climate change. Sunday, August The Wind River Valley spreads out a lush, green welcome mat for me and the crew as we head toward the town of Dubois, Wyoming. But on the ground, he saw the first signs of life. Ants scurried about and pocket gophers dug through the ash, burrowing in search of food. Fallen trees provided homes for insects and infused much.

In the fall, Osage-orange trees hang heavy with bright green, bumpy spheres the size of softballs, full of seeds and an unpalatable milky latex. They soon fall to the ground, where they rot, unused, unless a child decides to test their ballistic properties.

Trees that make such fleshy fruits do so to entice animals to eat them, along with the seeds they contain.

The importance of outdoor play for young children's healthy development - ScienceDirect

The seeds pass through the animal and are deposited, with natural fertilizer, away from the shade and roots of the parent tree where they are more likely to germinate.

But no native animal eats Osage-orange fruits. So, what are they for? The same question could be asked of the large seed pods of the honeylocust and the Kentucky coffeetree. That is where tropical ecologist Dan Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania noticed that the fruits of a mid-sized tree in the pea family called Cassia grandis were generally scorned by the native animals, but gobbled up by introduced horses and cattle.

He teamed up with Paul Martin, a paleoecologist at the University of Arizona, to develop the concept of ecological anachronisms. By eating their long seed pods, giant ground sloths were the primary dispersal system for Cassia grandis.

Dxlinh An anachronism is something that is chronologically out of place: Leather helmets at the Super Bowl. Or, hopefully, the internal combustion engine in the near future.

An ecological anachronism is an adaptation that is chronologically out of place, making its purpose more or less obsolete. A tree with big fruits to attract huge mammals as dispersers of its seeds is anachronistic in a world of relatively small mammals.

In the case of Cassia grandis, Janzen and Martin figured that the foot-long woody seed pods were eaten for their sweet pulp by giant ground sloths and elephant-like gomphotheres. However, the gomphotheres and giant groundsloths disappeared about 13, years ago, toward the end of the last Ice Age of the Pleistocene.

What, you may be wondering, do they have to do with Osage-oranges, honeylocusts, and coffeetrees today? In terms of evolutionary time, the difference between 13, years ago and now is like the difference between Friday, December 31, and Saturday, January 1, We may assign those two days to different centuries or millennia, but they are still part of the same week.

Likewise, all the animals and plants of 13, years ago belong just as much in the present. In fact, they still live in the present, with just one major exception: This happened just a couple thousand years before we invented agriculture and planted the seeds of civilization.

Woolly mammoths actually survived on some Arctic islands until after the Egyptian pyramids were built!October: Month of the Year: Quotations, Poetry, Celebrations, Bibliography, Links, Gardening initiativeblog.comch by Mike Garofalo.

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Trees are boon of nature

Time for outdoor play is diminishing, contributing to more sedentary lifestyles, disconnected from the natural world. Nature. Read the latest scientific research on the natural world, ecology and climate change.

A genus of evergreen aromatic shrubs and small trees distributed in the Indo-Malaysian region, South-East Asia and China but cultivated throughout the topical and temperate region of the world. About 22 species occur in India, besides about 15 exotic species have been A Review on Citrus – “The .

The Trees That Miss The Mammoths

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Learn more about why we need to plant and care for trees: Trees combat climate change. Excess carbon dioxide (CO2) is building up in our atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

Trees are boon of nature

Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air. Exposure to trees and nature aids.

The Trees That Miss The Mammoths - American Forests