A Community of Trees

A Community of Trees
Dr. Suzanne Simard has spent her life studying trees and what she's learned about the forest puts all our ideas about our green friends in a new light. You might imagine a forest as a dark and lonely place, full of giant trees that shade the ground below. In reality, the forest is as full of life and communication as a city! You just have to look to the roots.

As it turns out, trees often signal to each other through the use of root and symbiotic fungal systems. This communication can be used to send out requests for nutrients, information on growth, and perhaps even help trees plan for the future. At the center of it all is the "Mother Tree," often the oldest and tallest plant in the forest which helps move valuable nutrients from photosynthesis to the younger trees that are lacking in sunlight on the forest bed.

What's most amazing is that these networks aren't limited by species. In fact, forests of many types of trees are able to work together to increase their prosperity. In the summer, birches might give excess sugars to fir trees, and come fall the firs help the birches out, covering the leafless months of each species! There's even more to learn about Dr. Simard's incredible findings and you can read her full interview with Scientific American here!