Plant and ecosystem memory

Published by Ecoss on

Of course plants do not have brains and, thus, cannot actually remember what happened to them in the past. Although plants cannot remember, however, we use “memory” as a metaphor to refer to the effect of the past on current and future plant and ecosystem functioning. Such memory effects have been repeatedly shown in ecosystems (such as deserts) that are often defined by highly variable environmental conditions, where air temperatures, humidity, and soil water availability can differ greatly from one day to the next, week to week, among seasons, and year to year.