Greenways allow plant as well as animal movement

We’re all aware of how important it is for cities to leave greenways for wildlife, but who know plants were putting those greenways to good use also?

Greenways are strips that are left undeveloped to allow animals to relocate from one patch of undeveloped area to another. In Sept. 2006 a paper was published demonstrating that greenways also greatly enhanced plant diversity.

This month a study was released showing that plants will move down a greenway, each generation moving itself a bit further down the road.

The wild pea pod is big and heavy, with seemingly little prayer of escaping the shade of its parent plant.

And yet, like a grounded teenager who knows where the car keys are hidden, it manages – if it has a reasonable chance of escape.

University of Florida researchers working at the world’s largest experimental landscape devoted to wildlife corridors – greenways that link woods or other natural areas — have discovered the pea and similar species share, given a clear shot, a mysterious ability for mobility. Though their seeds are neither dispersed by birds nor borne by the wind, they are nevertheless far more likely to slalom down corridors than slog through woods.

The findings are revealed in a paper that appears this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

See also:
First evidence that wildlife corridors boost plant biodiversity study says