Researchers at the University of British Columbia are concluding that trees are interacting with one another in a symbiotic relationship that helps the trees to survive. Connected by fungi, the underground root systems of plants and trees are transferring carbon and nitrogen back and forth between each other in a network of subtle communication. Similar to the network of neurons and axons in the human brain, the network of fungi, roots, soil and micro-organisms beneath the larger ‘mother trees’ gives the forest its own consciousness.
“Some of the forest practices that we have done pay no attention to the role of these ‘mother trees’ or that trees actually will move some of their legacy to the new generation. We didn’t pay attention to it. Instead what we did is we went and cut down those trees after they died so that we could make 2 x 4′s out of them. And we didn’t give them a chance to give back to the community, I don’t think. So what those dying trees will do is that they will also move resources into living trees, to the young ones coming up, before they go, before they completely collapse. So it’s a transfer, like a passing of the wand from one generation to the next, if we allow it to happen.”
- Forester Suzanne Simard, a professor at the University of British Columbia