Dekker argues that it is the competitive relationship between humans and plants that defines a weed.
Long before the advent of agriculture, numerous species of plants had already specialized in taking advantage of natural disturbances such as fire, erosion, landslides, storm events and drought that temporarily opened up patches of nutrient-rich soils. To take advantage of such transitory opportunities, a plant would first need to be able to find the disturbed opening and then to grow and reproduce at lightening speed before being crowded out by new growth from the previous owners.
Two ways to read the story
These are the traits typically found in many of our most troublesome weeds. Ecologists commonly refer to such opportunists as pioneer species because of their ability to take advantage of newly available habitats. Ken Baker is a retired professor of biology and environmental studies. If you have a natural history topic you would like Dr.
GIBBONS: It’s been the Summer of Jim | Ottawa Sun
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