Have You Heard of the Wood Wide Web?

Mar 29, 2021 | Eco-friendly Golf Courses, Highlights, LCFCC Green Journey

Finding the Mother Tree

Suzanne Simard’s groundbreaking book

Nope, it’s not a typo. And as we sensed all along, trees talk.

Not only do they talk through the wood-wide web, but they also look after their young and nurture and provide nutrients to sick trees. Ecologist and Professor of Forest Ecology, Suzanne Simard, has shown how trees use a network of soil fungi to communicate their needs and aid neighboring sick trees and plants with nutrients. They use scent chemicals to transmit information across the forest and as they die, send their nutrients to other trees. A tree is only as good as its forest, sort of the “it takes a village to raise a baby” idea. I love the whole discovery. It’s controversial in the scientific world, of course, because it absolutely contradicts Darwin’s survival of the fittest, you know, the best tree wins kind of theory. Which is precisely while I like it. Why can’t trees compete and help one another? Trees seek to survive, but part of surviving, as every smart tree knows, is the good health of the forest. Just as we humans compete to survive, but also know that the health of the planet and our communities is part of our survival.

Well, maybe we don’t know that well enough. Come on world. The signs are all there. There’s still time.

 

“Beneath the mystery lay a fascinating frontier of scientific research, which would eventually reveal that this tree was not unique in its assisted living. Neighboring trees, scientists found, help each other through their root systems — either directly, by intertwining their roots, or indirectly, by growing fungal networks around the roots that serve as a sort of extended nervous system connecting separate trees. If this weren’t remarkable enough, these arboreal mutualities are even more complex — trees appear able to distinguish their own roots from those of other species and even of their own relatives.”   –taken from my favorite blog, Brain Pickings, by Maria Popova

 

Arthur Rackham illustration from Aesop’s Fables

About the Author

Pamela L Dreyfuss started her career as an actress, starring in a few films in the 1970s and 1980s. One film, Over the Edge, has reached the status of a 1970s classic. She went on to work as a screenwriter and freelance writer, while attending Pitzer College. Pamela has two wonderful children, one college graduate and the other currently in art school. A nature lover and avid bird watcher, she was influenced by her mother's early environmentalism. Pamela has been involved in grassroots environmental causes for years and sees 2021 as a breakout year for the chance to save our climate from disaster. Are you in?