The Wood Wide Web of Suzanne Simard

“The trees soon revealed startling secrets. I discovered that they are in a web of interdependence, linked by a system of underground channels, where they perceive and connect and relate with an ancient intricacy and wisdom that can no longer be denied.”

“The older trees are able to discern which seedlings are their own kin. The old trees nurture the young ones and provide them food and water just as we do with our own children. It is enough to make one pause, take a deep breath, and contemplate the social nature of the forest and how this is critical for evolution. The fungal network appears to wire the trees for fitness. And more. These old trees are mothering their children.”

“Plants are attuned to one another’s strengths and weaknesses, elegantly giving and taking to attain exquisite balance. There is grace in complexity, in actions cohering, in sum totals.”

“The left hemisphere quite literally can’t see the wood for the trees; here in the UK developers of a proposed high speed train link have promised to plant new trees to replace the ancient woodlands that will be cut down, ignoring the fact that a wood is a deeply integrated community evolved over centuries, not just a bunch of trees you can cut down in one place and replace with saplings somewhere else. The right hemisphere intuits the wood as a place of harmony and rejuvenation (think of Japanese forest-bathing), peopled by ancient trees and rich in diversity and relationship. The left hemisphere just sees a collection of individual, substitutable objects.”

“…the biggest, oldest timbers are the sources of fungal connections to regenerating seedlings. Not only that, they connect to all neighbors, young and old, serving as the linchpins for a jungle of threads and synapses and nodes. I’ll take you through the journey that revealed the most shocking aspect of this pattern-that it has similarities with our own human brains. In it, the old and young are perceiving, communicating, and responding to one another by emitting chemical signals. Chemicals identical to our own neurotransmitters. Signals created by ions cascading across fungal membranes. “

“The scientific evidence is impossible to ignore: the forest is wired for wisdom, sentience, and healing. This is not a book about how we can save the trees. This is a book about how the trees might save us.”



Former management consultant who stepped out of the ordinary to row oceans solo. Currently writing and podcasting at

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