The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Every now and then, every rare now and then you have the fortune to read a book that significantly transforms the way you view the world. Such is the case with The Hidden Life of Trees. Wohlleben, a German forester, once viewed these plentiful organisms much like you and I – beautiful to look at and wonderful to behold but scarcely more complex than a giant boulder and slightly more useful. As a forester his job was to ensure the growth of trees primarily for their future use as in a lumber mill. In the course of his work, however, he added a place in the forest as an “alternative to traditional graveyards.” Such irony! Thanks to this initiative he had many conversations with people who marveled at the beauty of the forest, especially about gnarled and odd shaped trees, exactly the ones he used to dismiss due to their low commercial value. Wohlleben took notice and delved deeper into the lives of the giants that surrounded him. What he discovered made him realize that trees are infinitely more complex than ever he had realized and changed his life. Trees communicate, they assist each other in times of need, help their offspring, and even assist their deceased companions to carry on. In addition trees, aided by a mass of fungi, create an incredible tangle of complex biochemical and electric reactions that take place underground. In short – it is an astounding life hidden from us for years and years. Until now.

            One word of caution here, however. After reading Wohlleben’s amazing book you will never view trees in the same again.

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