Scientists still don’t fully understand why the tops of trees in forests around the world so often refuse to touch.
A biologist in a July 2020 National Geographic article equates it to social distancing of sort.
In some ways, crown shyness is the arboreal version of social distancing, says Meg Lowman, a forest canopy biologist and director of the TREE Foundation. “The minute you start keeping plants from physically touching each other, you can increase productivity,” she says. “That’s the beauty of isolation … The tree is really safeguarding its own health.”