Factors that can Affect Plant Growth and/or Distribution

Factors that can Affect Plant Growth and/or Distribution

Environmental Factors

  • Light: Photosynthesis is dependent on light so its availability influences plant growth. Low light conditions can lead to etiolation - elongated, pale growth due to a lack of light.

  • Soil composition: This involves the physical and chemical properties of the soil. Elements like Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are essential for plant growth.

  • Temperature: Extreme temperatures can inhibit plant enzyme function, thereby affecting growth. Most plants also require a period of colder temperature (vernalisation) to induce flowering.

Biological Factors

  • Competition: Plants compete with each other for light, water, and nutrients. The presence of other plant species can affect a plant’s access to these resources.

  • Diseases: Pathogens such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria can affect plant growth.

  • Herbivory: Plant-eating animals (herbivores) can cause physical damage to plants affecting their ability to photosynthesis.

Geographical Factors

  • Altitude: Higher altitudes have lower atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels which may limit plant growth.

  • Slope: The incline of the land can affect the water flow and retention of soil nutrients.

  • Aspect: This term refers to directional exposure to sun and wind which can impact temperature and moisture levels.

Remember, these factors often interact to determine the distribution and growth of plant species in an ecosystem.