The rainforest is a battle ground for survival. Each tree, plant, flower and animal adapts to this environment. Each is reliant on others.
The strangler fig relies on birds to drop its seeds into the canopy of the rainforest where the sun and rain will work its magic to help the seed spring to life. Then very slowly it will extend it’s roots down, reaching for the forest floor and gradually wrapping the roots around the host tree in a lacy embrace.
As time passes the roots thicken and the light and life is squeezed from the host. Finally the host tree dies and the strangler fig will reign supreme. The host tree will rot to dust and the strangler fig lives on with an empty heart.
In the rain forest, no niche lies unused. No emptiness goes unfilled. No gasp of sunlight goes untrapped. In a million vest pockets, a million life-forms quietly tick. No other place on earth feels so lush. Sometimes we picture it as an echo of the original Garden of Eden—a realm ancient, serene, and fertile, where pythons slither and jaguars lope. But it is mainly a world of cunning and savage trees. Truant plants will not survive. The meek inherit nothing. Light is a thick yellow vitamin they would kill for, and they do. One of the first truths one learns in the rain forest is that there is nothing fainthearted or wimpy about plants.”
― Diane Ackerman, The Rarest of the Rare: Vanishing Animals, Timeless Worlds