[permaculture] Mineral requirements of plants - ecological niches

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflondon at mindspring.com
Sun Feb 3 21:57:37 EST 2002

Date:         Sat, 2 Feb 2002 14:47:22 -0500
Sender:       Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
               <SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
From:         Joel Gruver <jgruv at HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: mineral requirements of plant
 Hello Heide,

 In plant community ecology, one of the interesting debates is how
 niches" relate to "fundamental niches". For those not familiar with
 terms, "realized niche" refers to how a species actually fits into
 ecosystems. In contrast, "fundamental niche" refers to the set of
conditions under which a plant will grow "best".

 Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a good example of a species with
 contrasting fundamental and realized niches. In natural ecosystems,
 pine is normally found in peripheral environments... low fertility and
 wet or very dry... in plantation systems, Scotch pine grows best with
 moisture and fertility.

 When choosing plants for ornamental landscapes, it is valuable to keep
 mind that the niches occupied by species in natural ecosystems tend to
 more indicative of their tolerances, than where they will do the "best"
 a horticultural perspective.


 >From: Heide Hermary <heidehermary at PACIFICCOAST.NET>
 >Reply-To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
 >Subject: [SANET-MG] mineral requirements of plant
 >Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 15:04:08 -0800
 >Hi everyone,
 >I know this is an agriculture forum, but I'll ask anyway:
 >I am looking for a reference that groups ornamental plants according
 >their mineral (not nitrogen) requirements, or the mineral fertility of
 >their natural habitat. Conversely there might be descriptions of
 >including their mineral fertility, and the plants that have adapted to
 >them.  It's not something I have ever come across in horticulture, but
 >surely somebody must have done some work on that?
 >I'll greatly appreciate any information at all!
 >Thanks, Heide


Date:         Sun, 3 Feb 2002 06:52:55 +0800
Sender:       Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
               <SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
From:         David Menne <menne at IINET.NET.AU>
Subject:      Re: mineral requirements of plant
It would be interesting to know why in natural ecosystems, P sylvestris
seeks out more peripheral environments. Is there an ecology of
plant geared to grow/improve soil [a common weed theory] ?


Date:         Sun, 3 Feb 2002 23:08:45 -0000
Sender:       Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
               <SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
From:         John D'hondt <dhondt at EIRCOM.NET>
Subject:      Re: mineral requirements of plant
 I doubt that is a matter of actively seeking out the more peripheral
 (fertile) environments. It is probably more a matter of severe
 It is true that there is always a succession of different plant species
 new ground is colonized. The early species change the soil in such a
 that they make their own survival impossible. They are replaced by
 communities of ever more complex eco systems.
 Eventually a climax vegetation is reached and it is important to note
 climax vegetations are independent of the natural/original substrate
 exclusively of the climatic circumstances.

 Scotch pine (P. sylvestris) is not really a pioneer, except in very
 sandy areas, but is a climax species in its own right. It can grow
 much more extreme conditions of cold and wind than the oak- birch
climax in
 temperate zones. And this is where you would expect this species to

 A more simple example of zonations can be found at the sea shore. Some
 plants and animals can not survive outside the water and these will
only be
 found below the low low waterline. Some plants (sea weeds) and animals
 resist more stress of being baked by the sun or drying out for the time
 the tide is out. If one looks carefully one can see many distinct zones
 different creatures.

 Which makes one very important question burst to the surface : why does
 the hardiest organism grab the lot and compete everyone else into
 In fact this only happens very occasionally when a very aggressive
exotic is
 introduced into the equation.

 I think that the question above is related to the question why the
cells and
 tissues in our bodies keep doing their specialized jobs. How pleasant
can it
 be to live life as say a liver cell. Duty calls 24 hours a day, never a
 holiday, never a break and that while others move about with a much
 freedom. Liver cells live a short hard life neutralizing toxins in the
 blood. Their job is important and mostly they do it right.
 Sometimes there is a naughty cell though that wants more from life and
 ways to make the neighbors pay for its pleasures. At the same time it
 find the way to a long life and once there it is a small step to take
 tourist holidays in other parts of the body.

 This is what is called an aggressive cancer and the result will be the
 destruction of the complete organism.
 A mature ecosystem behaves in many ways like an organism in that its
 are subject to the greater good of the whole. If that were not the case
 diversity would be very low to start with. But that is the way of the


 Subject: Re: mineral requirements of plant

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