Within the New Zealand forest, a tree stump retains itself alive by holding onto the roots of its neighboring trees, exchanging water and sources via the grafted root system. The new analysis, publishing on July 25 in iScience, details how surrounding bushes hold tree stumps alive, probably in alternate for access to bigger root systems. The findings recommend a shift from the perception of trees as people towards understanding forest ecosystems as “superorganisms.”
“My colleague Martin Bader and I stumbled upon this kauri tree stump whereas we have been mountaineering in West Auckland,” says corresponding writer Sebastian Leuzinger, an associate professor at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). “It was odd, as a result of even though the stump did not have any foliage, it was alive.”
Leuzinger and Bader, first writer and an AUT senior lecturer, determined to research how the close-by trees had been maintaining the tree stump alive by measuring water flow in each the stump and the surrounding trees belonging to the identical species. What they discovered is that the water movement within the tree stump was strongly negatively correlated with that in the other trees.
These measurements counsel that the roots of the stump and surrounding conspecific trees have been grafted together, Leuzinger says. Root grafts can form between trees as soon as a tree acknowledges that a close-by root tissue, though genetically totally different, is comparable enough to permit for the exchange of sources.