The Hidden Life of Trees

Peter Wohlleben knows more about trees than you or I would ever need to know. He has worked in forestry for most of his life. I liked this book, “The Hidden Life of Trees” because I spent a lot of my childhood in the woods. He explains all the things I saw in the forest but had never studied. He also explains the processes going on beneath the ground that I couldn’t see. There is a lot going on in the forest that I had never even imagined.

He goes into detail about how trees compete with each other for sunlight and water above ground while at the same time helping each other below ground. Older larger tree share nutrients with smaller trees that don’t get enough sun or food. They do this through complex, symbiotic relationships with trillions of fungi in the ground. There are miles upon miles of fungi networks connecting trees in old growth forests. They work together to keep each other alive throughout trees long, slow motion lives.

Trees also have senses like animals. When one tree is attacked by insects it sends chemicals into the air that other trees “taste” and “smell” causing them to create their own insecticides in their leaves and keep the infestation contained. They also have a sense of touch which tells the roots where to grow with the least resistance and to stop spreading their crowns when their leaves touch another tree.

Those are just a few examples of what we have learned about trees over the years. The book contains a ton of science but it is written in a conversational style. He has a way with imagery through words. Illustrating the complex lifestyles of trees.

I don’t want to ruin too much here. This is a good book to read if you are into life sciences but also want a quick read without getting bogged down like you might with a textbook. It is written in common language. It’s a short book but it is filled with information. I think I read it in a few hours but now I know more about trees than anyone really needs to know.

I found this book on Hoopla Digital app. It is free to use, all you need is a device to read on and a library card. You can also read on your desktop or laptop or borrow a movie and stream it to your television. I won’t do that but you could.

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