Excerpt from Book #1 in Brandon’s Pursuit Series, release date Winter 2014:
Sky could visualize Dr. Merrill in class. When he was lecturing in the areas that were held by his passion, there could be a no more intellectual or more riveting equal. She had always been inspired by his lectures, always enthralled by the purity of his intent.
Plant communities and their health are the crucial elements of natural survival. Take the plight of the commercially produced strawberry. Driscoll Inc. has, as we speak, one hundred and eighty thousand acres of strawberry fields grown with one—and only one—variety of strawberry, fragaria var. This is called monoculture: note that, it will be on the midterm. The result in the case of predators, including fungus, insects, virus, and bacteria is that when any plant in the group gets infected, the rest of the population is not only susceptible, but likely to succumb. The grower has to overdose the fields with methyl bromide to combat crop devastation.
The purpose for plant communities is that different varieties exhibit different growing habits, harbor beneficial predators, attract a variety of pollinators—well, the list is almost endless. In the natural arena, speaking generally, one variety will house the insect or bacteria that will inhibit the pest of its neighbor. Another good neighbor may drop seedpods that can alter the local PH, stalling a bacterial infection. Perhaps more importantly, each member of the plant community occupies a different niche. In a natural habitat, you will have the arboreal members, the vining members, the low semiherbaceous shrubs, the taller woody shrubs, the annuals, the perennials, etc. Each member inhabits its own area of expertise in order to thrive. It is imperative for the habitat that each position be filled and functioning.
Human communities are no different. If all the members of the community have the same function, who will harbor the beneficials? If we have all annuals, what will the pollinators and predators do during the dormant season without perennials? Nature is, by design, a place for all different types of inhabitants. If a habitat shuns one of its natives, the community is out of balance and will eventually expire. I guarantee the concept of ’tolerance’ was not ever an issue in a natural situation. If you fulfill your niche in your own community, you will thrive and be a crucial contribution to the whole.