The social life of plants is one of the keys so that the biodiversity of ecosystems can be conserved, according to a study developed by scientists from the Portuguese University of Coimbra (UC), in collaboration with the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid.
Plants and their social life
After more than a year and a half of research, a pattern in which the behavior of hundreds of plant species from the Royal Botanical Garden was analyzed, the researchers managed to unite two processes that the plant develops. One is the relationship with subsoil fungi and the colonization of other soils by spreading their seeds.
As explained by one of the researchers, Marta Correia, in most plants their advantageous relationship with fungi is compatible to maintain the species and, in turn, the dispersal of the seeds for their perpetuation and conquest of other territories.
The relationships that plants have with the soil or with the animals that eat their fruits and spread their seeds or that have the ability to pollinate them, are really important, which is why it is believed that social life should not be limited at any time of the plants.
The problem of monocultures
Correia assured that monocultures, such as eucalyptus, or invasive species reduce the social life of plants and, therefore, the biodiversity of the ecosystem is weakened. Specifically, he referred to invasive plants such as acacias, which have proliferated both in Portugal and in the Spanish region of Galicia and which cause the alteration of soils.
The Portuguese researchers concluded that knowing the social life of plants is "essential" to design future management plans that allow the conservation of ecosystems in the face of climate change on the planet.
With information from: