We all see trees as these motionless, deep-rooted, still and solitary beings, but that is the only part of the tree that is actually visible to us. While some people identify them as ‘lifeless’ things, there is a lot going on beneath our feet that we know very little of.
Because, according to scientific evidence, trees are much more intelligent and emotional than we have ever imagined. In fact, their interaction and underground communication is what creates the root system of trees, in other words, the brain of the forest or otherwise known as The Wood Wide Web.
And believe it or not, this Wood Wide Web is much deeper than you thought. Beneath the ground, trees are interlinked, and they are actually talking, exchanging resources and even fighting wars with each other. They do this using the fungal network. The fungi that can be found around and inside their roots provide the trees with the essential nutrients, which in return supplies them with sugar.
While older trees use this fungal network to supply nutrients to their seedlings, the ones that are dying usually give away their resources to healthier, more vital neighbors. Another way that plants use the fungal system is to warn one another. For example, if they are under attack, they send messages by releasing chemical signals to the other neighbors so they can protect their wellbeing.
But there is also a dark side to this network. Some plants and trees, like orchids, can hack the system by stealing essential resources from their neighbors. Others, on the other hand, produce toxic chemicals that eventually spread into the network and harm other potential rivals.
All of this is something that Peter Wohlleben can surely confirm. He is a German forester, ecologist, researcher and the author of the book The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate.
Peter has spent his whole life studying and analyzing trees. And according to him, trees are very social beings. Believe it or not, there is something called a friendship among trees. Because, as Wohlleben explains, trees form bonds where one tree looks after the other. For example, older, mother trees take care of their offspring.
However, what’s even more exciting is that he and Suzanne W Simard, a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia created a new documentary called Intelligent Trees. The film explores the ways trees function and communicate with each other, by focusing on the scientific discoveries that Professor Suzanne has been making in the Canadian wilderness since 1990.
But, that’s not everything there is about these amazing living beings!
Furthermore, another research conducted by Dr. András Zlinszky showed that trees might have something similar to what we refer to as a heartbeat.
His team used a laser scanning method to measure the branches and analyze the movement of the trees and the results were intriguing. They discovered that throughout the night, trees usually raise and lower their branches which indicated to their natural cycle of sugar and water transportation.
According to Dr. Zlinszky, that is the process of the tree pumping water, which is compared to a human heartbeat.
All in all, considering their thriving community beneath our feet, it seems that plants might not be very different from us. However, there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done about these amazing, intelligent living beings.
Watch the trailer below and let us know what your thoughts on this are.