Protection / Defense
- Protection is a static condition
designed to prevent injury. Defense is a dynamic condition to survive after
injury and infection. These words and their meanings are often confused.
Trees have protection features: bark with waxes and suberin, aged wood with low
amounts of nutrients and water (and with biological wood preservatives called
extractives), arrangement of wood cells in a constant crisscross pattern as
longitudinal and radial cells abut. Trees also have defense systems: chemical
changes that produce antimicrobial substances, chemical and anatomical changes
that form strong boundaries. After injury and infection, the still living
cells near the wound respond by beginning to form a great variety of materials
that resist inward spread of pathogens. The new materials may be just as
harmful to the tree cells as they are to the pathogens. Some individual trees
of a species respond to injury and infection rapidly, and the pathogens spread
very slowly. It appears that this ability to respond rapidly is under moderate
to strong genetic control. Some tree species have much stronger protection
features than other species. Consider some of the species of Eucalyptus that
have high amounts of extractives that prevent rapid spread of pathogens. Other
tree species have weak protection features, and these trees usually do not live
In other words. Defense is dynamic, that means it is moving – something is happening. Protection = static. You have protective gear. You have dynamic move. Static not move. Building a wall is a defense process. Because you are building and it is kinetic. After it is built, then it becomes a protection boundary because after it is built, the wall just stands there, remains there, whatever word you want to use. So the degree of defense and protection in trees depends on the amount of stored energy they have. If you have a lot of money you can have a big insurance policy. You can have a big defense. You can buy things – defense. If you don’t have much money you don’t have much defense. And if you have something to protect or save, what are you going to use? Because you have no defense. Think about it. Use the words correctly. Defense, something is moving, it’s a dynamic process to maintain survival at the high quality state. Protection is a static situation. It’s a static feature. Protection is a feature and defense is a process. So think about these words. They are big powerful words. Don’t misuse them, please.
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