Prairies are some of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, with the tallgrass prairie being the most endangered. Only 1-4% of tallgrass prairie still exists. Prairies are critically important, not only for the unique biodiversity they possess, but for their effect on climate. The ability to store carbon is a valuable ecological service in today’s changing climate. Carbon, which is emitted both naturally and by human activities such as burning coal to create electricity, is a greenhouse gas that is increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere. Reports from the International Panel on Climate Change, a group of more than 2,000 climate scientists from around the world, agree that increased greenhouse gases are causing climate change, which is leading to sea level rise, higher temperatures, and altered rain patterns. Most of the prairie’s carbon sequestration happens below ground, where prairie roots can dig into the soil to depths up to 15 feet and more. Prairies can store much more carbon below ground than a forest can store above ground. In fact, the prairie was once the largest carbon sink in the world-much bigger than the Amazon rainforest-and its destruction has had devastating effects.
I just have to add–that extensive root system? It’s not just how the plant eats, and how it keeps itself from getting pulled out of the ground during storms, or dying when its aboveground portion is eaten… it’s how it talks to its friends and family, how it shares food with its friends and family, and more than likely, how it thinks. That’s a whole plant brain we’ve domesticated away, leaving a helpless organism that has trouble figuring out when it’s under attack by pests, what to do about it, has very little in the way of chemical defense so it can do something about it, and can’t even warn its neighbors. Even apart from the ecological concerns, what we’ve done is honestly pretty cruel.
Here’s some more articles on this too!https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/may/02/plants-talk-to-each-other-through-their-rootshttp://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141111-plants-have-a-hidden-internethttps://www.the-scientist.com/features/plant-talk-38209Whether or not you think this should qualify as a form of “intelligence” as we know it (which in itself as a pretty nebulous and poorly defined thing), plants exhibit complicated interactive behaviors that help them grow and thrive, and the way we harvest a lot of them for our produce just doesn’t even give them a chance to reach their maturity and begin trading nutrients the way they’re supposed to.
found @ 31 likes ON 2019-03-22 18:26:09 BY ME.ME