← All books

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World
by Peter Wohlleben and Tim Flannery, Jane Billinghurst, Suzanne Simard

Goodreads

Peter Wohlleben's "The Hidden Life of Trees" invites us to step into a world beyond our everyday perception, revealing the astonishingly complex and social lives of trees. Through scientific research and his own decades of experience as a forester, Wohlleben paints a picture of a forest as a bustling community, interconnected and interdependent in ways we're only beginning to understand.

Here are some key takeaways:

Trees communicate, and they're chatty! They use a network of underground fungal threads, dubbed the "wood wide web," to exchange information about insects, drought, and disease. Chemical signals released through the air also warn their brethren of impending danger.

Forests are families. Trees recognize their kin, nurturing their offspring and even supporting older, dying trees with nutrients through their interconnected root systems. This cooperation helps the entire forest thrive.

Trees have feelings (sort of). While not sentient in the same way as humans, trees exhibit remarkable sensitivity to their environment. They react to pain and stress, learn from experience, and adapt their growth patterns based on external stimuli.

Slow and steady wins the race. Forget the image of trees as static giants. Wohlleben demonstrates their slow but purposeful movements, adjusting to find optimal light and water. He emphasizes the importance of slow growth for a long and healthy life, challenging modern forestry practices that prioritize speed.

Old trees are invaluable. Far from being unproductive, ancient trees play a vital role in forest ecosystems. They provide crucial habitats, act as mother trees nourishing their offspring, and offer wisdom accumulated over centuries.

We need a new perspective on forests. Wohlleben advocates for a more holistic approach to forestry, one that recognizes and respects the intricate relationships within these ecosystems. He encourages us to see trees not just as resources, but as sentient beings worthy of our admiration and protection.

The impact of "The Hidden Life of Trees"

The book sparked a global conversation about our relationship with the natural world. It has been translated into numerous languages and inspired a wave of interest in forest ecology. While some scientists debate the extent of tree sentience and communication, Wohlleben's work undoubtedly raises crucial questions about our ethical responsibilities towards these vital organisms. Ultimately, "The Hidden Life of Trees" compels us to listen to the silent language of the forest, urging us to appreciate its wonders and protect its future.