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Forest communication: Trees talk via mycelium

green-forest-treesPaul Stamets famously posited that “mycelia are Earth’s natural Internet,” and a variety of research has borne out that concept, but like many things we can’t see an obvious connection between, most of us tend to ignore the micro in favor of the macro. And when it comes to conservation and natural resources, our systems may be falling prey to the lure of reductionist thinking, with a tree being considered merely a commodity in the forest, which can be replaced simply by planting another tree. In fact, many reforestation efforts are considered successful when a large number of trees are replanted in areas where clearcutting has rendered large tracts of land treeless, even if those replanted trees are essentially turning a once diverse forest into a monocropped ‘farm’ of trees.

A recent talk at TEDSummit 2016 by forest ecologist Suzanne Simard seems to put the lie to the idea that a forest is merely a collection of trees that can be thought of as fully independent entities, standing alone even while surrounded by other trees and vegetation. As Simard, who has put in about three decades of research work into Canada’s forests, puts it, “A forest is much more than what you see.”

Read the full article: Trees talk to each other and recognize their offspring

Image: Edwin van Buuringen

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