The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate Discoveries from a Secret World

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Greystone Books, Sep 13, 2016 - Nature - 288 pages
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In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.

Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.
 

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Contents

Friendships
1
The Language of Trees
6
Social Security
14
Love
19
The Tree Lottery
25
Slowly Does It
31
Forest Etiquette
37
Tree School
43
Hibernation
136
A Sense of Time
147
A Question of Character
151
The Sick Tree
155
Let There Be Light 
162
Street Kids
169
Burnout 
180
Destination North
186

United We Stand Divided We Fall
49
The Mysteries of Moving Water
56
Trees Aging Gracefully
60
Mighty Oak or Mighty Wimp?
68
Specialists
73
Tree or Not Tree?
79
In the Realm of Darkness
85
Carbon Dioxide Vacuums
93
Woody Climate Control 
99
The Forest as Water Pump
105
Yours or Mine?
113
Community Housing Projects
125
Mother Ships of Biodiversity
131
Tough Customers
195
Turbulent Times
201
Immigrants
211
Healthy Forest Air
221
Why Is the Forest Green?
227
Set Free
233
More Than Just a Commodity
241
Note from a Forest Scientist
247
Acknowledgments
251
Notes
252
Index
261
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

After studying forestry, Peter Wohlleben spent over twenty years working for the forestry commission. He left to put his ideas of ecology into practice, and he now runs an environmentally friendly woodland in Huemmel, Germany, where he promotes the return of ancient, sustainability managed forests.

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