This charming little video about the intricate communication system of trees begins:

Most of the forest lives in the shadow of the giants that make up the highest canopy. These are the oldest trees, with hundreds of children and grandchildren. They check in with their neighbors, share food, supplies and wisdom gained over their lives, all while rooted in place.

Through animated drawings, forestry experts Camille Defrenne and Suzanne Simard go on explain how trees communicate with one another using a third party system of symbiotic fungi.

Which seems to us like a big fat miracle.

It has changed our view of the trees in the park across the way, in ALL the trees we pass in our daily wanderings, and the land we are walking on.

Sally Schneider

We found a more poetic description in Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Overstory:

The things she catches Douglas-firs doing, over the course of these years, fill her with joy. When the lateral roots of two Douglas-firs run into each other underground, they fuse. Through those self-grafted knots, the two trees join their vascular systems together and become one. Networked together underground by countless thousands of miles of living fungal threads, her trees feed and heal each other, keep their young and sick alive, pool their resources and metabolites into community chests…

There are no individuals. There aren’t even separate species. Everything in the forest is the forest. Competition is not separable from endless flavors of cooperation. Trees fight no more than do the leaves on a single tree.

Sally Schneider

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