The Hidden Life of Trees

The Hidden Life of Trees

What They Feel, How They Communicate : Discoveries From A Secret World

Book - 2016
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Are trees social beings? Forester and author Peter Wohlleben makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.
Publisher: Vancouver, BC, Canada :, David Suzuki Institute :, Greystone Books Ltd,, [2016]
Edition: English edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781771642484
Characteristics: xv, 272 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm


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Oct 28, 2018

It will be hard to look at trees and forests in the same way as I have, after reading this book.

May 15, 2018

This is an intriguing read on how plants are just as responsive and intelligent as animals, but in their own unique ways. Theirs is a life in the slow lane, but that doesn't mean they're completely sedentary or don't know when an animal is trying to eat them.
What surprised me the most is how some trees agree on which years they will flower and fruit in order to maximise the survival of their offspring, and some trees will keep a beloved stump alive for decades because it was their parent.
Plants with emotional ties and future planning capabilities? Sounds sentient to me.
Wonder what the vegans are going to make of this...?

DPLnate Apr 04, 2018

“A tree’s most important means of staying connected to other trees is a “wood wide web” of soil fungi that connects vegetation in an intimate network that allows the sharing of an enormous amount of information and goods.” - The Hidden Life of Trees
Full of fascinating tidbits such as the one above. Guaranteed to enhance your appreciation of the trees around you the next time you walk in the forest. Eye-opening.

LPL_JillM Mar 09, 2018

Who knew how much complexity and variety there is in the life of a tree?! I learned so much reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben; now I want to take a walk in the woods to see what stories I can find by observing the trees. Growth pattern, tree groupings, and the subtleties of the bark can tell a lot - even in the heart of winter when I can’t see the leaves. It is fascinating to learn how trees communicate and how they react to changes in the world around them. I found the anthropomorphism of the book both charming and tiresome in turn. For example, at one point the author states that when the water supply was cut off the trees began “screaming.” They made an ultrasonic vibration which he interpreted this way, but who’s to say they weren’t whining or complaining? All in all, I really enjoyed this book!

bibliotom Feb 14, 2018

A lovely popular (or should I say poplar?) take on forest ecology. Wohlleben writes about trees as if they were people, which I find amusing; though I suppose others may find it as grating as a bad pun. For example, he talks about trees communicating via scent as if they were speaking to each other, and he describes trees in a forest community as "friends." He relies on the generosity of the reader's imagination, but he never strays far from hard science. Fascinating, eye-opening stuff.

Jan 14, 2018

Fascinating, even for folks who wouldn't usually read about ecology. You will learn amazing things about well-researched science about how plants, fungi, and animals communicate and adapt using chemistry, scent, and each other. If you enjoy this topic, see talk by Paul Stammets for more fascinating Revelations on the natural world and their amazing benefits which can solve tough human world problems. Other books by Stammets for more detail about how non-animal life communicate and benefit each other.

JCLNickWB Jan 05, 2018

If you are an anthropomorphizer, woodworker, or person-who-lives-on-earth... this is a book for you! Fun facts and stories pulled from in-depth research make this a great read for anyone interested in the ancient trees towering above us and the intriguing wood-wide-web below us.

Dec 05, 2017

I'm not particularly interested in botany, or at least I wasn't before encountering this book, but I found it very interesting. The author reveals the stories trees tell, and a walk in the forest will never be the same again. Tolkien used less poetic license than you might think!

Nov 10, 2017

A tree is complexing organism. Who knew? The a tree is stationary, the books explains how a tree is not stationary in its effect on its external enviornment.

Oct 10, 2017

I never got to finish this book, since there were people waiting for it, but I read enough of it to see that it is a fascinating revelation about trees and how they communicate with each other, and live in community. I would like to borrow it again and read it through sometime.

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Feb 23, 2017

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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Jul 18, 2017

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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