Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing

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Certain tree species in the forest resist touching each other as they grow, a natural event known as crown shyness.

Here’s an aerial view of the jigsaw-like spacing.

What explains the puzzle piece-shaped canopy?

More than one theory explains why social distancing amongst the trees occurs.

Scientists suggest that the channel-like gaps between the treetops emerge because of mutual light-sensing among the crowns of the trees. The intercrown spacing increases light reception for the leaves, resulting in beautiful patterns in the canopy.

Preventing encroachment also reduces the spread of disease and wards off leaf-eating harmful insects.

The collaborative effort to avoid touching its neighbor’s foliage ensures the safety and survival of all nearby trees. Talk about respecting one’s personal space!

Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing
Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing
Crown shyness: Nature’s way of social distancing
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