Crown Shyness

Crown Shyness

Did you know that “crown shyness” is a natural phenomenon observed in some tree species?

FUN FACTS
🌳 Crown shyness means tree crowns do not touch each other, forming a canopy with mysterious crack-like gaps!
🍃 Happens most with trees of same species, but also with trees of different species. Famous places to see it are Malaysia’s Forest Research Institute and Argentina’s Plaza San Martin.
🌿 Adaptive behaviour, first seen in 1920s, whose cause is uncertain.

ECOSYSTEM ROLE
🌏 Could result from physical damage suffered when trees collide during winds.
🌍 Trees might “social distance” to stay healthy, for example: to stop spread of disease, leaf-eating insects, or parasitic vines; or to maximize photosynthesis, by avoiding shade caused by other trees’ foliage.
🌎 Trees might chemically communicate (“plant cognizance”) and stop their crown growth to avoid hurting each other.

THREATS
❗️Deforestation reduces the number of tree crowns, which shrinks the canopy (“lost tree cover”).
❗️Lost tree cover matters because tree canopies are filled with biodiversity, much of it undiscovered.
❗️Tree canopies also block sun in daytime and retain heat at night, preventing extreme temperature swings that harm our Planet and People.