It has been scientifically proven beyond doubt that water is one of the most important elements needed by plants to naturally germinate and grow. In case of scarcity, plant life is adversely affected-and there are always negative repercussions that end up affecting the entire ecological system. The effects of water scarcity on plants are known to even alter genetic make-up of plants. In other words, plants start to undergo evolutionary changes in order to survive consistent water shortages.
There are quite a number of reasons that lead to water scarcity, and if left unchecked there can be a drastic change on the kind vegetation that covers the earth’s surface.
Factors Leading to Water Scarcity
There are a number of factors that lead to water scarcity, which have negative ripple effects on plant life. To begin with, increased population directly leads to reduction of amount of water based on the fact that development takes place in water catchment areas. Also, there is the issue of bad agricultural practices, increasing industries, and deforestation, not to mention pollution of water sources. In fact, with poor water conservation practices the amount of water has drastically reduced over the years. Of course with this trend, there is definitely going to be reduced amounts of water.
Main Effects of Water Stress on Plants
As stated, there are quite a number of negative effects that water stress has on plants. While some of the effects can be seen physically and are instantaneous, others do take time and require extensive research. Here are some of the main effects that are known:
- Reduced Photosynthesis Process – This is one of the main process of plants that produces the green pigmentation. In case of water deficiency, plants will slow down the entire production mechanism and rearrange the photosynthesis apparatus leading to stomatal closure. Of course reduced amount of chlorophyll has negative impact on plant life.
- Protein Synthesis Issues – Plant proteins are also drastically reduced during water scarcity, and you will find that this is one of the main reasons of gene alteration. Furthermore, this stress always leads to disturbance of membranes hence affecting lipids that are crucial for plant growth. Last but not least, water scarcity leads to mineral nutrition in plants hence negative changes on structure of plant membranes can be detected.
- Oxidation Problems – It has been proven that with drought and other related causes of water scarcity will have a direct impact on plant oxidation. In other words, plants will undergo molecular changes that will damage membranes and also negatively affect cellular metabolism. At the end of the day, there is an irreversible imbalance between how light is eventually captured and used by the plant.
- Wilting-Tugor Pressure – It goes without saying that plants that don’t receive enough water will wilt sooner than later. Oftentimes this is due to inflation of plant cells that makes then strong and erect does not exist. If the water scarcity prolongs, then definitely the plant will eventually die.
Adapt or Die
Overall, plants will tend to adapt whenever there is water scarcity. They will undergo biochemical, physiological, anatomical, as well as morphological changes over time. In extreme cases, these plants will simply die off and can even be extinct.
In a nut shell, the effects of water scarcity on plants and whether they survive or not can simply be can be attributed to species and variety.