Happy 2018! To start 2018 we will look at some social networks of a different kind, social networks of forests. Now, I know some might think this is an unlikely comparison. However, as you will see and read, forests do communicate. They communicate and create social networks much like humans. They nurture their young, they give information to other trees, and share their space. They do things very similar to human communities.
This is important to understand because humans need social networks to thrive, to be healthy, and to be happy! One researcher, Suzanne Simard, always believed trees communicated. Maybe not like humans, but she believed they communicated through their roots with help from fungi.
Heres her story,
"Two decades ago, while researching her doctoral thesis, ecologist Suzanne Simard discovered that trees communicate their needs and send each other nutrients via a network of latticed fungi buried in the soil — in other words, she found, they “talk” to each other. Since then, Simard, now at the University of British Columbia, has pioneered further research into how trees converse, including how these fungal filigrees help trees send warning signals about environmental change, search for kin, and transfer their nutrients to neighboring plants before they die."
Simard used radioactive Carbon 13 & 14 to conduct tests to see if trees communicate through these root systems. What she discovered is truly remarkable. Trees send carbon along with other vital information to other trees to help them grow and prosper. Much like human communities. See the video for full details of her experiments she has conducted.
Suzanne SimardSimard’s work has helped change how scientists define interactions between plants. “A forest is a cooperative system,” she said in an interview with Yale Environment 360. “To me, using the language of ‘communication’ made more sense because we were looking at not just resource transfers, but things like defense signaling and kin recognition signaling. We as human beings can relate to this better. If we can relate to it, then we’re going to care about it more. If we care about it more, then we’re going to do a better job of stewarding our landscapes.” "By using phrases like “forest wisdom” and “mother trees” when she speaks about this elaborate system, which she compares to neural networks in human brains,
I hope you enjoy this video and I hope you continue to build your social bonds like our forests.
Beyond the Gear is a informational place where firefighters and their families can read and take steps at living a healthier life. Healthy body starts with a healthy mind. I hope you enjoy.