Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How does nature distribute resources and information? #cottonwood #summersnow

Cottonwood trees propagate their seeds and distribute the "information" needed to reproduce using efficiency and resilience strategies!

Like most wind propagated species, the Cottonwood tree leverages an existing, readily available resource to help it distribute seeds: wind. Instead of spending its own energy to distribute its seeds, it uses the wind to do it instead. This strategy allows the tree to distribute thousands of seeds as far as the wind blows. But is the distribution of thousands of seeds with the hope that only a few will mature really that efficient? It is when you take resilience strategies into account.

"R select" species such as the Cottonwood use a reproduction strategy where multitudes of seeds are a produced but each one requires a very low investment for the plant. And this shear abundance is a resilience strategy because 1) their abundance ensures that at least a few will land in growing conditions in which they will thrive and 2) their genetic diversity allows for adaptation to these growing conditions.

And even the vast majority of seeds that do not become a tree will provide food and building materials that feed the ecosystem - another example of nature creating conditions conducive to life!

So what can we learn from nature to distribute resources and information?

Leverage existing, renewable energy flows instead of doing everything yourself - i.e. leverage solar and wind energies as well as collaborative relationships
Package information to be distributed in a low-cost, energy efficient way and send out multitudes in the hope that a few will land in the right place and thrive - i.e. nature's version of email spam, and like spam these cottony seeds that coat everything can be quite annoying!
Rapidly prototype many different ideas and send them out into the wind to see what sticks!

...and many more! How can you learn from the Cottonwood tree?

See also: https://asknature.org/…/lightweight-structure-aids-dispers…/

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