Why Our Favorite Crops Live Fast and Die Young

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Published on 24 Jan 2018, 14:26
To start using Tab for a Cause, go to: tabforacause.org/r/minuteearth2
We mostly grow annual plants because they reliably produce energy-rich seeds, which we like to eat.

Thanks to our Patreon patrons patreon.com/MinuteEarth and our YouTube sponsors.

To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Annual: a plant that typically lives for a year or less
Biennial: a plant that typically lives for two years
Perennial: a plant that typically lives for multiple years

If you liked this week’s video, you might also like:
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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Script Editor: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Illustrators: Bruno van Wayenburg and Ever Salazar
Video Director: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Kate Yoshida, Peter Reich, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder: soundcloud.com/drschroeder


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Crews, T. E., & DeHaan, L. R. (2015). The strong perennial vision: A response. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 39(5), 500-515. tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21683565...

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Rees, M., & Long, M. J. (1992). Germination biology and the ecology of annual plants. The American Naturalist, 139(3), 484-508. eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/1403/1/reesm8_Re...

Reich, P. B. (2014). The world‐wide ‘fast–slow’plant economics spectrum: a traits manifesto. Journal of Ecology, 102(2), 275-301. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365...

Smaje, C. (2015). The strong perennial vision: A critical review. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 39(5), 471-499. tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21683565...

Van Tassel, D. L., DeHaan, L. R., & Cox, T. S. (2010). Missing domesticated plant forms: can artificial selection fill the gap?. Evolutionary Applications, 3(5‐6), 434-452. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.17...

Vico, G. Personal Communication, Nov 2017.

Vico, G., et al. (2016). Trade‐offs between seed output and life span–a quantitative comparison of traits between annual and perennial congeneric species. New Phytologist, 209(1), 104-114. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph....

Westoby, M. Personal Communication, Nov 2017.
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