The Secret Life of Trees

Trees are actually linked to each other via an underground ‘web’ connection. A connection that is facilitated by their root systems and bacteria that lives within the ground, creating the original ‘worldwide web’ in natural symbiosis.

This connection allows both trees and fungi to benefit, assuring the right balance of nutrients for them to both thrive but also providing them with the ability to communicate, exchange and protect each other across great distances.

We obviously know the basics about why trees are important to our lives, they provide an atmosphere we can breathe and thrive in. We use them for heat, energy and to write on, but there is actually so much more to know about how impressive they are. Especially when grouped into communities free of human intervention, like forests.

Not only have some trees developed the ability to resist fire damage, but some have also remained alive for 9,550 years (in Dalarna, Sweden) thanks to the support of their underground mycelium web and neighbouring trees. Check out the list of the world’s oldest trees.

“In actual fact, trees continually grow wider and taller, and the mass of organic matter produced per hectare is greater in natural forests than in artificial forests, where trees are usually cut down relatively young (between 50 and 120 years depending on the species) for human consumption.”

Source: Books and Ideas.

I often go on about how we know less about our planet’s oceans than we do about Mars. Well, we know even less about the actual functioning of our planet’s forests. The author of The Secret Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben, has done extensive research to correct the misconception that planting new trees is just as productive.

The fact that as a society we have an unsaturated desire to continue consuming disposable products, paper, card (and everything else), plus the fact that we continue to replace natural forests with urban developments only shows how little we have actually understood about our place here.

The only way we can hope to save ourselves is to learn to respect and reconnect with nature. Nature constantly proves its ability to support the varied lifeforms that live in harmony with it. So why are we still trying to dominate it?

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