Try taking a long walk into the woods, after discovering that each root underneath your feet is interconnected with other hundreds of it. The “wood wide web” stays as a foundation for this incredible book, “The Hidden Life of Trees,” a thesis about the feelings, connections, pains, friendships, and struggles of trees.
“I will never stop learning from them, but even what I have learned so far under their leafy canopy exceeds anything I could ever have dreamed of.”
Peter Wohlleben, 52, is a German former state forester and also a speaker in the survival training courses and log-cabin tours. Since 2006, he started his thesis about the “wood wide web,” supporting the idea that trees are social beings, they can talk to them, they can count, and they can remember things.
I have learned so many things during this lecture, that is very hard to summarize them. But, to make you read this influential book, I want to highlight some ideas like:
Trees and plants communicate through scents- trees can keep away the harmful insects and wild animals, but also warn the other “brothers” and “sisters” about any danger.
Trees are interconnected. The old healthy ones help the sick, little trees to grow and to get food. Even it is thought that trees shouldn’t grow too close to each other, this is not desirable, as they are meant to be packed together.
Youth for a tree takes about two hundred years. “Mother trees” don’t allow their children to grow fast because they are not ready for that. Only when the mother dies, the little tree is allowed to reach the adulthood.
“If we want to use forests as a weapon in the ﬁght against climate change, then we must allow them to grow old, which is exactly what large conservation groups are asking us to do.”
Also, the author explains to the reader some natural processes that trees go through, like hibernation, described as a stressful period, when trees wait the cold season to be gone, the full, gracefully aging process and also how trees become cozy shelters for tens of species of animals and insects.
The author talks, in the ending of his survey, about how trees are capable of filtering the air and how this affects, in a good way, the human health condition. The author challenges us to take a walk in the forests and see how our body feels this physical improvement. He says: “Walkers who visit one of the ancient deciduous forest preserves in the forest I manage always report that their heart feels lighter and they feel right at home.”
Thank you, Peter Wohlleben, for taking your time and passion in writing such a great thesis. It is a good lesson for us to appreciate and understand better the hidden life of trees.