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Re: Bracken



At 12:30 AM 6/10/00 -0400, John Bois wrote:

Did grass usurp a previously owned niche, or did it _create_ a new
one?  I don't know.  I do know grass is very special!

Some of both.


The great value of grass--one of the great values of grass, anyway--is its
abilty to thrive in arid areas.  This combination seems to be perfect for
ostriches.

The range of grass probably extends further into the arid zone than ferns ever did. But even today ferns can survive in amazingly dry habitats. When I was in Australia I saw semi-arid gum woodlands (trees circa 10-15 m tall) with an understory dominated by polypodiacean ferns, dense enough to provide hiding places for small animals. And of course the climate here in southern California is very dry, yet our woodlands have abundant fern in the understory, but relatively little grass. (Note that, since tree crown cover here is higher than in the aussie woodlands, the ground cover is sparser).


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May the peace of God be with you.         sarima@ix.netcom.com