Saturday, July 12, 2014

Orchid Atop a Pine Tree

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

This orchid appears like a wreath laid on the
crown 
of a pine tree, La Trinidad, Benguet

It is rare to find an orchid growing on pine tree. It is because orchids are tropical plants, and pine trees are temperate plants. It is seldom that pine trees grow on humid, warm lowlands. Orchids on the other hand, cannot tolerate dry, cold climate, much less winter.

It is not surprising to see similar cases like this specimen which I photographed on the watershed of La Trinidad in Benguet. The orchid and pine tree seem to have developed a mutual relationship. The orchid helps trap moisture and convert leaves into compost, while the latter provides the epiphyte foothold and space to obtain sunlight. On closer examination this is not a symbiotic relationship.Symbiosis is a natural "give and take relationship" over a long period of time whereby both members and their progenies are equally benefited.

I believe that the explanation to the unusual union of these two plants is global warming.

Convergent zones are emerging as the boundaries of climate types are shifting. It is in these zones that many species are trapped - boundaries that are constantly changing. These zones are therefore, deathtraps, an unusual phenomenon heretofore not well understood in the fields of ecology and evolution. It is neo-Darwinian in a sense because survival is still the name of the game. The question is that evolution does not produce fitness in a short time - it takes hundreds if not thousands of years to build fitness in dominant species.

Where change is abrupt the result is likely catastrophic to many species, and even those that survive will enter into another phase we call speciation - the diversion of survivors from their ancestors and follow untrodden paths to become new species - even long after the catastrophe is over.

This specimen tells us of a great catastrophe our living world faces - which, by a growing number of evidences it has already started. ~~

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