Stress Wood

Posted on Sep 3, 2020

Today I learned about stress wood1.

In the late 80s, scientists constructed a vivarium out in the Arizona desert. It was a closed ecological system containing a number of different habitats devised to determine the feasibility of such setups for space colonisation2.

Many of the species flourished in this environment. However, it was noticed that the trees, whilst initially growing quickly, soon became weak and would fall over. It was determined that due to the lack of wind in the biosphere, the trees were not developing stress wood. Stress wood develops when small cracks are formed in the tree’s wood when put under stress, usually from the wind. It helps the tree grow towards the light and to strengthen it.

We are not unlike these trees. Small amounts of stress, so long as we can recover from it positively, can help us to grow stronger.


  1. No, not that. ↩︎

  2. It seems remarkable that this is true and not some b-movie plot. The company which managed it was called Space Biosphere Ventures, which is also the most b-movie villain company name I have ever heard. ↩︎