Episode available within Canada only.

Combining spectacular panoramic visuals with high-end CGI, this stunning nature documentary explores the secret life of trees, and how the world’s last great forest has the power to shape not only the lives of the plants and animals that live within it but our lives and life across the entire globe. New science is revealing that trees are far more dynamic than we ever realized, with a highly sociable nature and a penchant for generosity, allowing them to form vibrant communities.

In What Trees Talk About, host David Suzuki and scientists working in boreal regions around the world investigate the many unexpected ways that the trees of the boreal forest communicate with each other, form friendships with neighbouring animals, and team up to face the elements.

WEB EXCLUSIVE: A Quebec study shows how trees share food and water to survive together.

The boreal is the Earth’s largest land-based biome, covering over half of Canada’s land mass. Its extreme environment, with temperatures ranging from -50 degrees Celsius in the winter to a blazing +40 in the summer, places a high demand on the flora and fauna of the region: adapt to survive. Recent studies have led scientists to discover that not only can the boreal’s trees withstand these conditions — they are some of the most dynamic and influential life forms on the planet.

What Trees Talk About offers a fresh perspective, debunking the common myth that trees are inactive, solitary beings. “We have this general idea that trees are independent individuals,” says ecologist Annie Desrochers, “But what we have discovered is that they’re not independent, they will form unions.”

Using a ‘science in action’ approach, the film takes viewers on a fascinating journey into the heart of the boreal, revealing the hidden social connections that allow trees to thrive in harsh conditions, from sharing food and water through their roots to starving out the squirrels that stand in the way of reproduction - even banding together to change the weather.

The World’s Biggest Forest Is In Our Own Backyard And We Need To Protect It
Canada’s Boreal Forest Is A Thriving Social Community of Trees That Work Together
Boreal Forests Store Carbon, But Maybe Not For Much Longer

Director Ryszard Hunka brings us to forests around the world, using CGI animation to uncover the complex systems that allow boreal trees to thrive, in turn playing a key role in sustaining all life on earth. Each of the featured scientists brings an infectious enthusiasm to their study of the northern forest, but also an undercurrent of concern: will this force of nature, which has been integral to the health of our planet for over 10,000 years, still be self-sufficient in the onslaught of climate change?

Biologist Jill Johnstone believes it’s in our best interests to find out: “What happens in the boreal doesn’t necessarily stay in the boreal - it’s important to all of us.” 

Credits (Click to expand)

directed by
Ryszard Hunka

written by
Ryszard Hunka 
Erna Buffie

produced by
Merit Jensen Carr
Sandra Moore

creative producer
Erna Buffie

Gil Tetreault

original music composed by
Shawn Pierce

Keith Eidse

production manager
Sandra Moore

sound recordist
Russ Dyck

additional sound
Tod Bovingdon

additional nature photography
Hugo Kitching
Jeff McKay

camera assistant
James Hiebert

graphics & animation
Jamie Hopkins

online editor
Jack Lauder

sound editors
Paul Morrow
John Schritt

re-recording engineer
Howard Rissin

assistant editor / conform editor
Matt Onischuk

packaging editor
Andrew Shire

research & development writing
Erna Buffie
Caroline Underwood 
Heather Hinam

visual research
Gina Cali

post production supervisor
Sandra Moore

production assistant
Gordon Agar

Jennifer Jensen-Tracy
Allegra Chiarella

special thanks  

Carole Vivier    Markku Kulmala
Sebastien Nasse   Tim Winegard
FM Morrison    Bev Pugliese
Kerri Woloszyn   Nadia Mykytczuk
Peter Nielsen    Chris Elliott
Brendan Rogers   Michelle Reid
Nikole Freeman   Alex Sutton

additional special thanks
Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Wildlife Research Station
Hyytiala Forestry Field Station, Finland
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Laurentian University – Vale Living with Lakes Centre
The Province of Ontario – Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, Ontario Parks
Squirrel Camp, Yukon Territories

stock and archival material courtesy of

Insight Media Works
Laurentian University – Goodman School of Mines
Lycaon Productions
Merit Motion Pictures
Nature Footage
Science North
Sharkwater Productions

The Wild Canadian Year

Wild Canadian Year

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