Essay on the Ecological Effects of Wind on Organisms !

The transportation of microbes, plants and animals by hurricanes to hitherto unoccu­pied land may change the nature of the whole biotic community. Wind brings about following physical as well as anatomical and physiological effects on plants:

Physical effects:

(i) The wind of high velocity may cause the breaking of living branches of trees and sometimes even causes their complete uprooting. Usually such breakage occurs in soft woods of such plants as cotton woods and river maple. The uprooted single or groups of forest trees are called wind throws or wind falls, (ii) Strong winds from a constant direction often cause permanent alteration in the form and position of the plant shoots. Such wind-caused deformations are common in trees growing on ridges and along coasts, (iii) Violent winds often cause the flat­tening or lodging of the herbaceous plants like wheat, maize, oat, sugarcane, etc., against the ground, (iv) Particles of soil or ice carried by strong winds may act as abrasive force, by which the buds, leaves and other delicate parts of plants may be eroded away. Crops grown on sandy soils are usually suffered by such damages, (v) Strong winds cause soil erosion and soil deposition and make a land unsuitable for plant growth, (vi) Along sea-coasts, the salts of the water are carried along by strong winds and such salt-sprays have injurious effects on some plants growing in the vicinity of the ocean.

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Anatomical and physiological effects:

(i) The wind de­formation often causes the development of a dense, reddish type of xylem, called compression wood, on the compressed side of the trees. The wind-deformed organs of the herbaceous plants contain more collenchyma than the normal plant organ, (ii) Strong winds cause an increase in the rates of evaporation and transpiration in plants, both of which disturb the normal water balance of the plants and thus, result the desiccation and death of plants. How­ever, some plants with crowded branches escape the desiccation due to wind effect and they develop cushion-form root system and are called cushion plants, (iii) Plants growing on sea-coasts, arctic or alpine timberlines, are subjected to drying winds and conse­quently are suffered from dehydration and consequent loss of turgidity. Under such circumstances, their organs become dwarfed.