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Kenneth Ellman Reviews The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, July 10, 2017

KENNETH ELLMAN reviews The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.
July 10, 2017 by Kenneth Ellman, Box 18, Newton, New Jersey 07860

I happen to love Trees. I speak not of individual Trees although I do care about them individually, but I speak of the Forest. The Forest, the world of Trees where we are also allowed to live. I live in a Forest and wish I had more understanding of what I live in and see every day. There are joys of nature that are sometimes difficult to convey. But in the moment when you walk out of your house and see and experience the Forest in your midst you know you are in something that is alive as you are and senses you as you sense it. I try to protect the little Forest where I live but it is not so easy as many things look to take more from it than they return, tree poachers amongst them.

I understand that Trees are to a large extent looked upon as simply a Resource for both Fuel and Construction. The Forest has always been so and we must not forget that it also provides excellent Hunting Grounds.
All these things are good and proper and necessary.

But the Forest is more. It is alive both from the Trees and their relationships with each other, the animals that could not live without the Forest and the entire environment which is what the Forest gives our world. We as the Human Animal cannot live without healthy Forests. Without the Forest Human life as we know it would end. The Forest is full of life and much to learn and appreciate and enjoy.

This short book by Wohlleben brings you into this world of The Trees and reveals how they communicate and signal using chemical methods not so different from other forms of life. That Trees have a consciousness cannot be disputed. The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben is a short but significant book as is the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, that other treasure being a large and comprehensive excursion into our world. Both books are experiences everyone should have. Wohlleben also discusses the work of Dr. Suzanne Simard whose TED lecture is available to view.

I remember how I would not allow certain injured trees to be cut down by Forestry workers since I perceived that such trees still participated in the Forest and it was not yet their time. I did not fully understand just how that is so but I believed destroying injured trees when not necessary was wrong. Wohlleben opens up a knowledge of injured Trees that many people probably do not learn.
On Page One, the beginning of his book, he discusses:
“Years ago, I stumbled across a patch of strange-looking mossy stones in one of the preserves of old beech trees that grows in the forest I
manage. The stones were an unusual shape… Carefully, I lifted the moss on one of the stones. What I found underneath was tree bark. So,
these were not stones, after all, but old wood…
…one thing was clear: the surrounding beeches were pumping sugar to the stump to keep it alive.”

I was not fully aware nor well read on Trees to understand the intricate nature of “The Forest Life of Trees”. I was not aware of “fungal-root connections” that facilitate their communication with each other. I was not aware that mother Trees are in contact with their offspring through root systems that “pass along sugar and other nutrients”. That mother Trees know, distinguish and nurture their children. Almost like a science fiction movie, the Trees are alive like you and me.

As stated by Wohlleben on page 230 :
“The main reason we misunderstand trees, however, is that they are so incredibly slow. Their childhood and youth last ten times as long as ours.
Their complete life-span is at least five times as long as ours. Active movements such as unfurling leaves or growing new shoots take weeks or
even months.”

There is way too much in this little volume to give a full review here. It would be wonderful if we encouraged all who tread in the Forest to read this book along with the aforementioned work of Anna Comstock and the research of Dr. Suzanne Simard. It is hard to always learn because the world keeps us busy. But if you love the Forest as I do you will not want to leave this book, along with other Forest and nature works all teaching you what you did not know. Learn and become part of the Forest, a page at a time.
Kenneth Ellman, Box 18, Newton, New Jersey 07860