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The Hidden Life of Trees: Discoveries from a Secret World

The Hidden Life of Trees: Discoveries from a Secret World

Written by Peter Wohlleben

Narrated by Mike Grady


The Hidden Life of Trees: Discoveries from a Secret World

Written by Peter Wohlleben

Narrated by Mike Grady

ratings:
4.5/5 (267 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Released:
Sep 13, 2016
ISBN:
9780008218348
Format:
Audiobook

Editor's Note

The irreplaceable value of trees…

Especially in our age of climate change and deforestation, it’s important to understand the irreplaceable value of old-growth forests. Whether you love trees or want to learn more about the complex webs that impact our climate, “The Hidden Life of Trees” is a great read.

Description

How do trees live? Do they feel pain, or have awareness of their surroundings? Research is now suggesting trees are capable of much more than we have ever known.

In The Hidden Life of Trees, forester Peter Wohlleben puts groundbreaking scientific discoveries into a language everyone can relate to.

In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware.

Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group.

As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.

After a walk through the woods with Wohlleben, you’ll never look at trees the same way again.

Released:
Sep 13, 2016
ISBN:
9780008218348
Format:
Audiobook

About the author



Reviews

What people think about The Hidden Life of Trees

4.6
267 ratings / 43 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    One thing's for sure: I'll never look at trees and forests in the same way again. The variety of means trees use to communicate with one another and the lengths they go to nourish each other is stunning, and while there will be doubts about whether this is done in any deliberate sense, the same thing might be said by alien species watching us from afar. Individual trees can learn, plan, and cooperate with others of their own kind . Do they have memory, emotions, intelligence? How would that affect the divisions we have laid on the natural world: plant, animal, and the in-betweens? Trees live on such a different time scale than us that our species, with our short lives and even shorter attention spans, can barely comprehend the patterns of behavior they share among themselves and with fungi, animals, and other inhabitants of the forest and ground. How do we define a tree? By the area of it above the ground or below, where up to half of its biomass is hidden? There is a case to be made for considering at least some aspen groves as one individual, as with Pando, a clonal colony of a single male quaking aspen determined to be a single living organism by identical genetic markers and assumed to have one massive underground root system. The plant occupies 106 acres, and its root system, at an estimated 80,000 years old, is among the oldest known living organisms (adapted from Wikipedia). How are we to put this into our own context?Before blooming, deciduous agree among themselves. Should they go for it next spring, or would it be better to wait a year or two? "Trees in a forest prefer to bloom at the same time so that the genes of many individual trees can be well mixed...When a pollen grain lands on a stigma, its genes are activated and it grows a delicate tube down to the ovary in search of an egg. As it is doing this, the tree tests the genetic makeup of the pollen and, if it matches its own, blocks the tube."Despite all the planning done for storing up energy, producing young, etc., if the normal order of things are disturbed by weather, insects, overgrowth by other species, logging, or a plethora of other events, action can be taken by either the tree or an interdependent organism. For instance, lack of nutrients might cause a fungi to release a toxin into the soil to kill off a different type of organism and therefore release nitrogen to fertilize both tree and fungi. "There are more life forms in a handful of forest soil than there are people on the plant." A tree without a forest is unable to take advantage of the life that would make it its healthiest, and it is doomed to a short existence (by tree standards, if not our own). And here's something I didn't know, even surrounded by deciduous trees: leaf colors in autumn indicate what nutrients are being withdrawn back into the tree to help it winter over and plan for the following spring. Oaks (which surround my house) make use of every little scrap, which is why the leaves are just a dull brown by the time they fall.Wohlleben's writing is geared to the non-specialist, and he has a sense of humor, too. Includes a note section and an extensive index.
  • (5/5)
    A well structured and easy read through a series of revelations after revelations of how trees interact with the space they occupy and with each other. Just managing to mostly side-stepping overt anthropomorphism. Once read you will never ever look at trees in the same light again. They will no longer be just a tree. The underlying theme that comes out so strongly is 'interconnectedness' of not just Nature in a broad brush sense but at every level down to the smallest cell, co-operating reacting or defending against other cells and back up to the big organism, plants, animals, man, trees, weather systems and the climate we all depend. All is connected. It is just that with trees the timescale is beyond our ready comprehension. their timescale is measured in our generations.It is an easy read inviting you to glide along effortlessly as you are led deep and deeper into the marvels that are trees. This is then perhaps its weakness, to keep it easy reading it is light on the scientific support for claims that some might find startling,erring on the absurd. Do trees really talk to each other? The scientific justification is hinted at but with insufficient detail to be able to critic the soundness of the studies referred to. So a highly speculative romanticised look at trees or a well researched look combing all the latest evolving knowledge. Your choice, but I challenge you to walk past another tree and just dismiss it as a tree.
  • (4/5)
    Trees are people, forests are community. This book is for anyone who loves green beings. Trees aren't so different than us.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating! Some of what he writes is hard to believe. Can't quite tell if wishful thinking stretches the science. But his ecology of coastlands makes all kinds of sense. I hope people who can adopt these practices are listening.
  • (4/5)
    I have absolutely no science background so I can't address the science behind the thoughts in this book. But, I do love being in the woods and I thought this book was great. It was jam packed full of really fascinating and interesting tidbits.
  • (4/5)
    This books captures very well the complex interactions than make nature run. It explains how trees "work" and how forests are more than the sum of their trees. It manages to break down in short and easy to read chapters how fungus, animals, weather, different species help/fight/harm-but-not-too-much each other to form a resilient ecosystem.I liked a lot the information exposed, the mix of research data with the "once you think about it, it makes sense" explanations and the easy-going tone of the book, but the excessive "personification" of the trees (specially at the beginning) made it difficult to take it more seriously.