Even in the harshest desert environments limited by water and heat, ecologists are finding mutualistic interactions as or more pervasive than signs of outright competition for scarce resources or signs of predatory behaviors.
From soil mycorrhizae and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, to plant-pollinator and plant-seed disperser interactions, cooperation abounds in challenging places and challenging times.
Some of the best-known examples of symbiotic relationships can be found in deserts: the yucca moth and yucca; the senita cactus and its moth that lives its entire life cycle in the flesh and flowers of that cactus; desert figs and their wasps, etc. To restore a place, we must restore the web of cooperation fundamental to the very nature of the place.
Yes there will be predators, scavengers and plant roots that compete with other for water, but you can’t even restore these without the mutualistic relationships in place. Even in our own ears, eyes and guts we have microbial allies to live our lives among.
Let us now praise the network of cooperation that underlies every person, family, community and habitat on this resilient earth!