The Social Life of Forests

Author: Ferris Jabr (New York Times)
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The Social Life of Forests

Foresters once regarded trees as solitary individuals: They competed for space and resources, but were otherwise indifferent to one another.

The work of the Canadian ecologist Suzanne Simard upended that. She found that while there is indeed conflict in a forest, there is also negotiation, reciprocity and even selflessness.

Ms. Simard discovered that underground fungal threads link nearly every tree in a forest. Seedlings severed from this network are more likely to die; chemical alarm signals to warn of danger can be passed between trees; and a dying tree can sometimes pass on a share of its carbon to neighbors.

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