Suzanne Simard. Do Trees Communicate With each other? Maybe not in the way you are thinking. But through mushrooms and the mycelium network they can and do!

Forester and naturalist Suzanne Simard is a leading authority on how trees communicate with each other, sometimes over vast distances. Trees speak to each other through the immense mycelium networks composed of fungi growing below the earth’s surface. Trees strategize to avoid deadly competition and can even exchange nutrients with each other.  If you have asked yourself “Do Trees Communicate?” The answer is yes!

Suzanne’s Ted Talk takes you into the mycelium network.

Trees are the foundation of a forest, but a forest is much more than what you see. Underground, there is this ‘other’ other world of infinite biological pathways that connect trees and allow them to communicate.”

SUZANNE SIMARD

As a recent New York Times article details, Simard grew up exploring the old growth forests of British Columbia, where she began to wonder about the massive trees growing there. She studied forestry and college, and eventually became interested in the possibility that trees could perceive and communicate with one another, sharing information and nutrients. Her research proved that idea was correct, and it changed the way scientists think about not just forests, but almost all land-based life.

In 1997 Simard’s thesis was published in excerpt in the renowned science journal Nature. The network of fungi and tree roots that form these connections, which enable trees to gift their carbon to their neighbors upon dying, became known forever as “The Wood Wide Web.”

Simard is now regarded as one of the most forward-thinking scientists of the modern era, and a major character in Richard Powers’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Overstory is loosely based on her.

Suzanne Simard’s Ted Talk “How trees talk to each other” walks you through the basics of the mycelium network, often referred to as the “Wood Wide Web.”

Check out the Ted Talk.

The next you want to quiz your friends or family, as them this funny question: Do trees communicate?

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