The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

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Book by Peter Wohlleben published in 2016

I've started writing brief reviews or summaries of books I've read. This is one of them.

Enjoyable read about a forester and lessons learned about trees from his own private forest. It gets a little bit into “woo” territory sometimes (e.g. trees thinking and having parent-child relationships, but woodpeckers being simple, dumb creatures) but overall pretty good. It definitely has that popular science feel to it.

The symbiotic relationship with mushrooms, and the trees forming a “wood-wide web” definitely made me think about trees in a different light - more akin to superorganisms.

What’s most interesting to me, though, is the fight for survival, under the umbrella of natural selection. A tree being munched on by a pest that creates a chemical signal for that bug’s predator to come and eat it. The way that trees fight for sunlight in forest canopies, and race to the top (“race” being relative to tree lifetime) when a new spot opens up. The way that beech trees can overtake mature oaks. The sharing of resources even between different species of trees, because the survival of the entire forest is a net positive for all.

As someone whose family makes maple syrup every year, the section about how trees store water, and the mechanisms the tree uses to move water up the tree were also fascinating.