In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
There’s always the hope that a book will change the way we view the world. The Hidden Life of Trees succeeds, making you reconsider everything from mushrooms to friendship to, yes, trees. German scientist Peter Wohlleben used to evaluate the market value of beeches and oaks for lumber companies. Today, he advocates for the protection of primeval woodlands. In this book—a bestseller in Germany, with 19 translations in the works—he makes the case that trees are like people, with feelings, ambitions, and rules of etiquette. Wohlleben suggests humans would be wise to emulate their leafy neighbors, who live cooperatively and thrive when helping other trees survive.
This fascinating book will intrigue readers who love a walk through the woods. Wohlleben, who worked for the German forestry commission for 20 years and now manages a beech forest in Germany, has gathered research from scientists around the world examining how trees communicate and interact with one another. They do so using a variety of methods, including the secretion of scents and sound vibrations to warn neighboring plants of potential attacks by insects and hungry herbivores, drought, and other dangers. The book includes a note from forest scientist Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia, whose studies showed that entire forests can be connected by "using chemical signals sent through the fungal networks around their root tips" and led to the term "the wood-wide web." Wohlleben anthropomorphizes his subject, using such terms as friendship and parenting, which serves to make the technical information relatable, and he backs up his ideas with information from scientists. He even tackles the question of whether trees are intelligent. He hopes the day will come "when the language of trees will eventually be deciphered." Until then, Wohllenben's book offers readers a vivid glimpse into their secret world.
Customer ReviewsSee All
What a wonderful read. I will be reading more by this man. He has woken up a whole new world for me.
Interesting book gives us a lot to think about.
The Secret Life of Trees
Beautifully written by a naturalist who is both scientist and lover of nature. The secrets Peter Wohlleben reveal should be known by all. Readers will never look at trees or forests the same again. Fascinating journey into a world we all thought we knew well, but actually did not know at all.