wood wide web

Trees are amazing. When I think of my first memory of trees, my introduction began with leaves. Fallen leaves. Autumn leaves on the ground to touch and smell and rake and jump in and collect.

I heard an interesting thing today on one of my favourite podcasts RadioLab: Trees are connected, by underground networks, to share data and collectively support each other in growing the wealth and health of the forest. Woah.

Networks of fungal tubes connect old trees to young, oak trees to maple and even insects to roots. These networks truly are the original world-wide-web. The trees provide sugar to the fungus’ which grow expansive networks between nearby trees and breakdown local matter and minerals to then transport back to the trees that need it most.

My first thought, “so the biggest, oldest trees have the most connections, get the most nutrients and continue to keep growing bigger and stronger” ah makes sense. Not true. The trees actually coordinate the allocation of minerals to weaker, younger and even diseased trees to help them become stronger and communally grow the health of the forest.

With all our human genius we have trouble supporting equally our neighbour, let alone another culture or species. Trees are amazing.

Check out the original RadioLab Podcast here – From Tree to Shining Tree

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