Since the beginning of our history as a species, humans have been fed by the forest. We originated in the forest and are well adapted to life there. People have probably been managing the plants in the forest to increase food production for more than 50,000 years. In tropical regions of the world today, families still depend upon forest gardens for fresh fruits and vegetables, and many other materials.

You've probably noticed that if your neighbor stops mowing their lawn regularly, it doesn't take long for the weeds to spring up. And, if you've driven by an abandoned farm house, you may have seen shrubs growing up in what was once fertile pasture. In most parts of the world, if a plot of land is left alone long enough, it will naturally pass through a series of plant stages and eventually become covered with trees. This somewhat predictable pattern of changing communities of plants becoming more complex over time was formally described by H. C.

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