The Hidden Life of Trees
What They Feel, How They Communicate : Discoveries From A Secret WorldBook - 2016
From the critics
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From Ch 8 Tree School, p. 44, 45
...In the years to come, the spruce will try to repair the wound, but the tear keeps reopening. From some distance away, you can see a black channel streaked with pitch that bears witness to this painful process.
And with that, we have arrived at the heart of tree school. Unfortunately, this is a place where a certain amount of physical punishment is still the order of the day, for Nature is a strict teacher. If a tree does not pay attention and do what it's told, it will suffer...From then on, it will do a better job of rationing water instead of pumping whatever is available out of the ground as soon as spring hits without giving a second thought to waste. The tree takes the lesson to heart, and from then on it will stick with this new, thrifty behavior, even when the ground has plenty of moisture-after all, you never know!
Whether they are thick or thin, all members of the same species are using light to produce the same amount of sugar per leaf. This equalization is taking place underground through the roots. There's obviously a lively exchange going on down there. Whoever has an abundance of sugar hands some over; whoever is running short gets help. Once again, fungi are involved. Their enormous networks act as gigantic redistribution mechanisms. It's a bit like the way social security systems operate to ensure individual members of society don't fall too far behind. p.15-6
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I had to wait for a long time for this book, so I felt a little compelled to read the whole thing. I didn't though; certainly no reflection on its value, but rather on my interest in the subject. It was written by a man who obviously knows a great deal and cares deeply about trees and forests. He delivered information in an anthropomorphic manner, talking about trees taking care of their offspring, warning other trees about predators, being lonely if they are the only one of their kind, etc. The approach was very charming and I was amazed at their communication with each other and social interdependency. Nevertheless, I gave myself permission to close the book about half way through. Maybe because the idea that trees are living beings, sentient in their own way, was not alien to me in the first place. Maybe because there are a number of other books on my shelf that I am eager to get into.
So, I did go back and finish it. My ultimate assessment is that there is much scientific information about trees -- too much for me to remember. What I took away is the trees are not that different from animals (and humans).
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