How trees protect themselves

With many thanks to Mark Nicholoson and Wendy Meagher for their help in developing this story.  

This printable fact sheet (great for schools and wildlife clubs) is available free of charge.  Email Tree Safari if you would like us to send you one. 

Colin Tudge, author of ‘The Secret Life of Trees’ says ‘we see that between trees and their parasites there is the same counterpoise of antagonism and collaboration – war, peace and uneasy truce – that we find in all ecology. Over time we can discern co-evolution, as each player in each relationship adapts more and more minutely to the other. When the relationship is antagonistic, this co-evolution becomes an arms race, with predators or parasites and prey each upping the ante as centuries pass. When it is cooperative, the relationship tends to become more intricate with time, until the various players become totally interdependent” p 352

Click on the links below to read stories of positive interdependence between trees and other creatures.

Click here to read about cooperation between trees, birds, animals and insects in the Acacia commiphora woodlands.

Click here to read about the Mfunda tree and the Sokoke Scops owl.

Click here to read about the incredible relationship between fig trees and wasps.

A tree's bark is like a suit of armour shielding the tree from attack by animals or insects,  preventing it from getting burnt or dried out when the sun is strong, or getting blown over by the wind.  It also has important medicinal properties.  Read more about bark here.