Living on the Edge of Challenge
It amazes me, and may be you too the reader of this buzz, that we tend to go the extremes and swing from one extreme to the other. Is this the call of nature? We find many trees living in arid zones, or water logging areas, but very few trees living in areas where land and water are close by. Trees living in water flooding areas adapt well to the flood of water. In contrast, trees living in arid zones adapt well to the scarcity of water. In areas where land and water are neighboring to each other and adaptations to living in the border areas are challenging, far less number of trees exists. Is it easier for businesses to adapt to extreme conditions than it is for varying conditions of flooding business and for businesses thirsty for the waters of survival than adapting to both scarcity of water and being flooded with customers, demands and showering orders?
Trees living in one extreme condition of drought or flooding waters have developed strategies which are variant from those strategies developed by trees living in areas where in one side there is plenty of water and on the other side there is arid land. Understanding how trees adapt may suggest a huge number of different strategies for businesses to consider.
Strategies for Scarcity
Trees combine different strategies to combat the extreme condition of water scarcity. These include:
· Dispensing off leaves or having small leaves to minimize water loss. Avoidance of loss is the core point. Businesses may also consider avoidance of losses when exposed to sunny days- loss of cash flows, customers and talents are among the main losses businesses should thrive to minimize.
· Trees try to keep water in reservoirs of their own. Tree store water in specialized tissues such as in leaves and trunks. So, the strategy is minimize water losses and maximizes water storage. In arid businesses climates each business should consider what makes its "waters" and maximize their storage and minimize their losses. It is balancing the opposites of losing water and storing it that tree excel at.
Trees in arid zones develop long roots to reach the maximum amounts of available water resources. Desert trees remain dormant during scarcity of water and germinate only when trees sense water availability. So, the combined strategy is reduce water losses + store as much water as possible for difficult times + reach the scarce water to the maximum degree possible + reduce germination till trees sense water availability. How about businesses in drought environments? Shouldn't they consider the same strategies?
These are scare example of strategies adopted by trees in arid zones. How about growth and adaptation in rain logged environments?
Strategies for Over-Supplies
Trees living in excessive water availability have other problems to cope with. Trees accept what they sense and adapt to it. Trees know that controlling the environment is beyond their capacity.
Honestly, I could write more than twenty buzzes on how trees adapt and strategize with water flooding environments. For brevity, trees may do the following:
· The flooding of roots deprives them from oxygen as oxygen diffuses less in water and microorganisms competing for the scarce oxygen. This is a prime concern for trees. Flooding stress has resulted in a wide range of biochemical, molecular and morphological adaptations that sanction growth and reproductive success under episodic or permanently flooded conditions that are highly damaging to the majority of plant species. Tolerance adaptations and/or avoidance adaptations have been the two main strategies to adapt to flooding.
· Some plants do their photosynthesis under water to produce their own oxygen.
· The primary morphological plant strategy in response to flooding is the development of air spaces in the roots and stems which allow diffusion of oxygen from the aerial portions of the plant into the roots. These plants find an alternative route for the supply of oxygen.
· There are so many other strategies and I may dedicate a buzz to focus on them.
How about trees that live on borderline between land and water? Surprisingly, very few plants can do that. The challenges to adapt are huge.
Trees Living on the Borderline, or Edge of Challenge
Trees living on the borderline have to adapt to salty water and wave action. To cope with these stringent challenges, trees have evolved different strategies:
· Trees living in borderline areas have complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion. They either have the capacity to store salts or throw them out using innovative technologies.
· Trees limit loss of scarce fresh water in salty mud trees change the direction of their leaves to avoid exposure to sun. Trees use avoidance strategy.
· A creative strategy trees in borderline areas adapted is to germinate their seeds while still on the trees.
· Trees such as mangroves have developed very long pods for their seeds.
There is a great video on mangrove trees and their adaptations. This video is a must see.
Sara Jacobovici has written a great buzz on "Sorry, you can’t blame it on politics or politicians". She wrote in this buzz "We are a part of this dynamic existence we call life, not passive receivers or observers. It is within the tension of what is and isn’t in our control, fighting for our individuality while living in a community and the choices we make, that moves us on our chosen paths". Trees teach us how exactly to do that.
We live on the edge of challenges and trees have so much to teach us on how to grow and adapt in these challenging environments.