Fig trees and wasps have a mutualistic relationship where the former are completely dependant on the latter for their breeding success and survival as the tiny wasps are typically the sole pollinators of fig trees. The same holds true the other way as fig wasps require fig trees as they can breed nowhere else but inside figs.

The relationship between fig and wasp means that figs have the ability to reproduce across long distances. This, in turn, has meant that fig trees have diversified and spread into markedly varied ecosystems. This large range and diversity, coupled with fig trees tendency to fruit often and at times when other fruits are scarce has made it a key food species for wildlife throughout the world.

In light of this, figs can play a key role in repairing degraded land. The plants grow quickly in tough environments and the wildlife they attract, particularly frugivorous birds, deposit seeds of other fruits they’ve eaten elsewhere to introduce new plant species. Nigel Tucker, an Australian restoration ecologist, suggests that at least 10% of your plantings be fig trees to kick start the land repair process.

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