Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Book, 2021, 348 pp
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An amazing story of discovering the communication that exists between trees, interwined with a personal story of family and grief.

Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths--that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Simard describes up close--in revealing and accessible ways--how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved; how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about their future; how they elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication: characteristics previously ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies. And, at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

Simard spent her days as a child in the rain forests of British Columbia cataloging the trees from the forest; she came to love and respect them as she embarked on a journey of discovery and struggle. Her powerful story is one of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward. And it is a testament to how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology: it's about understanding who we are and our place in the world.

In her book, as in her research, Simard proves the true connectedness of the Mother Tree to the forest, nurturing it in the profound ways that families and human societies nurture one another, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.

WINNER of the 2021 Banff Mountain Book Prize in Mountain Environment and Natural History

WINNER of the National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature

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