November 4, 2016 Biodiversity Written by Greentumble

We crave trees’ shade in the summer and admire their beauty, without knowing much about their fascinating qualities.

Trees are one of the Earth’s greatest natural resources. They clean the air we breathe, help prevent soil erosion, provide food and building materials, create shade, and even heal some of our psychological problems such as mood disorders, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression. The list of benefits that trees provide us goes on and on…

Here’s one aspect about trees that will make you think completely different about them and hopefully make us rethink the way we use this precious natural resource.

Ecologist Suzanne Simard discovered that trees communicate with each other through a web of tiny root hairs and fungi made up of tiny threads called mycelium. By connecting to the fungal network they can exchange nutrients and other information with their neighbors according to their needs to survive.

Moreover, it has been found that some of the largest and oldest trees in a forest, also known as “Mother Trees”, are managing the resources of the whole tree community around them. And when we cut down mother trees, without knowing anything about the role they play in the forest, the survival rate of the younger trees is significantly decreased.

Check out this great video where Professor Suzanne Simard explains more in detail about how trees in a forest are interdependent:

If this important knowledge would be applied into our forestry sectors, it could take our conservation efforts for the future to the next level.

How can you help?

    • Go out in the forest more often and explore it’s wonders. Get to know your local forests and learn about what tree species are living there. Pass the knowledge you learned today about trees to your family and friends.

    • Learn about the deforestation practices happening in your area and you will most likely realize that they are not sustainable. If this is the case, take action! Let your municipality know about the importance of mother trees in your forest and ask them to cut less trees and especially to identify those mother trees and protect them.

    • Plant a tree. Planting a tree means giving life, it’s a gift of immeasurable value.