Finding the Mother Tree

Suzanne Simard
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About This Book

Forest ecologist Simard has been studying intricate, mutually sustaining forms of communication and interconnectivity among trees and fungi for decades, initially as a determined and controversial researcher for the Canadian Forest Service, then as a professor who attained TED Talk fame. In her galvanizing first book, she interleaves her family’s history as British Columbia homesteaders and loggers with detailed accounts of her innovative and exacting fieldwork and paradigm-altering discoveries. As Simard elucidates her revolutionary experiments, replete with gorgeous descriptions and moments of fear and wonder, a vision of the forest as an “intelligent system, perceptive and responsive,” comes into focus, leading to her revelation of how “mother trees” not only nourish and protect seedlings but also “continuously gauge, adjust, and regulate” their support of the entire forest through a finely calibrated web that mirrors our own neural network and cardiovascular system. Simard’s findings make the case for saving old-growth forests as climate change and mountain-pine-beetle infestations kill millions of trees. Herself a mother, Simard’s dedication to unveiling nature’s complexity is rendered poignant in light of her candidly shared struggles against misogyny and cancer. Having proven scientifically what Indigenous cultures have always known about nature’s glorious mutualism, Simard calls for the protection of all ecosystems so that all of life will endure. A masterwork of planetary significance.

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association.