A revolution has been taking place in the scientific understanding of trees, and Wohlleben is the first writer to convey its amazements to a general audience. The latest scientific studies, conducted at well-respected universities in Germany and around the world, confirm what he has long suspected from close observation in this forest: Trees are far more alert, social, sophisticated—and even intelligent—than we thought.
“Some are calling it the ‘wood-wide web,’” says Peter Wohlleben in German-accented English. “All the trees here, and in every forest that is not too damaged, are connected to each other through underground fungal networks. Trees share water and nutrients through the networks, and also use them to communicate. They send distress signals about drought and disease, for example, or insect attacks, and other trees alter their behavior when they receive these messages.”
via Clive Thompson
Some 370 million years ago cladoxylopsid trees stood at least eight meters tall, capped by branches with twiggy appendages instead of leaves. They looked a bit like spindly palm trees. Today their scant remains reveal little about their insides; in most cases their innards had rotted before the trees fossilized, and storms had filled them with sand. But the recent find of two well-preserved fossils in China has exposed the trees’ inner workings—which are like no other species studied before.
via Freshly Brewed Thoughts by Laura Hilliger