A highlight from Trees Talk To Each Other. 'Mother Tree' Ecologist Hears Lessons For People, Too


This is fresh air. I'm davies in today for terry. Gross do you remember this scene from the wizard of oz. When dorothy and the scarecrow happened upon an apple orchard and she picks an apple from a tree. Funnier than we've been working a long ways. And i was hungry and something she well how would you like to have someone. Come along and pick something off of you dear. I keep forgetting. I'm not in kansas our guest today. Suzanne simard has spent decades studying trees and while they don't talk to humas she shown through some groundbreaking research that they do communicate with each other in some pretty astonishing ways sharing nutrients warning of danger and helping their own offspring. Get off to a good start in life. Some art grew up in the forests of canada and has worked in the logging industry. The canadian ministry of natural resources and forestry and in academia where she's published over two hundred studies about the complex relationships that exist among trees and plants in forests. Her ideas were dismissed even mocked by forestry officials and some scientists at first but not anymore some artists now a professor of forest ecology at the university of british columbia. She has a new memoir. Which explains some of her research and remarkable findings and shares her personal story which includes her treatment for breast cancer. The book is finding the mother tree discovering the wisdom of the forest. She joins me from her home in nelson british columbia suzanne smart welcome to fresh air. Thank you. It's great to hear your interest in this subject was spawned by a life of the connections to the forest. That goes back generations Tell us just a bit about your family and it's it's involvement in the forest. Well yeah actually both sides of my family. My mother's and father's side have had deep relationships with the forest. But i'll talk mostly about my dad's side And so the family actually emigrated from france to quebec moved across canada in the early nineteen hundreds to settle in the inland rainforests of british columbia. And a funny story about this is that you know they. They actually thought they were going to california but ended up in these rainforests And they decided to stay because they were so beautiful. And the horse loggers and so the settled around a lake called maple lake and your spent their livelihoods over multiple generations of logging with horses. And that's what. I grew up around in in those forests and and watching watching this kind of old fashioned way of harvesting forests right so the cut down trees horses pull them to.

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