deep ecology

Do Trees Listen?

IMG_3269Yes! That’s what scientists are now describing, as Suzanne Simard does in this Ted Talk. Trees converse “in the language of carbon…in the language of nitrogen,” and through mycellium intermediaries they send help to each other and their whole community.

“When mother trees are injured or dying, they also send messages–wisdom–onto the next generation of seedlings,” Simard says.

Tom Wessels summarizes the research: “Paper birch trees that were struggling in the forest received as much as 6 percent of their energy from carbohydrates produced by surrounding Douglas fir. The extra energy was fed to the struggling birch by the mycorrhizae [mutualistic fungi]…[T]he mycorrhizae benefited the entire forest ecosystem by maintaining or increasing photosynthetic rates, nutrient retention, and species richness.”

We are all so deeply interconnected! How much we have to learn if we just listen!

Here’s a poem about humans getting into the game.

1 thought on “Do Trees Listen?”

  1. The name of your group is delightful.
    As a kid I heard a song that stayed with me all the years wandering my mind.
    Snippets of lyrics would echo back sometimes.
    Those snippets sang:
    “I talk to the trees, they listen to me…”
    Funny how we remember things the way we want, and not the reality.
    The song was I Talked To The Trees (from Paint Your Wagon)

    The actual snippet:
    “I talk to the trees
    But they don’t listen to me
    I talk to the stars
    But they never hear me

    The breeze hasn’t time
    To stop, and hear what I say
    I talk to them all
    In vain…”

    But then come the lines of beauty and truth:

    “But suddenly, my words
    Reach someone elses ear
    At someone elses heart
    Strings too

    I tell you my dreams
    And while you’re listening to me
    I suddenly see them
    Come true…”

    These last lyrics kind of encapsulate the hope and dream of intentional communities –that we create circles of friends who will listen and validate…

    You can hear the song and watch a most enchanting video of trees, at:


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