It sounds like a fairytale! But forester Peter Wohlleben believes trees really do talk to each other
You know the enchanted forests of fairy tales, where trees seem eerily conscious, conveying messages to each other — not merely living things, but animate beings.
After reading Peter Wohlleben's international bestseller, The Hidden Life of Trees, it's tempting to think that enchanted forests may be as close by as the nearest forest that has escaped being tampered with by humans.
Our way of looking at nature comes from the age of enlightenment. Two or three hundred years ago, scientists began to look at nature like a big machine, without any soul, without any feelings. Within the last decades, we changed our view on animals... but why do we treat plants like second-class beings?- Peter Wohlleben
Wohlleben writes of trees as having something approaching intelligence and sentience — communicating with each other and with other forms of life, sometimes sharing resources with, and nurturing, other trees, and sometimes just pursuing their own agendas.
To paraphrase an adage beloved of some biologists, ecology isn't rocket science; it's much more complicated. And science is revealing a staggeringly complex web of life in the forest — densely interconnected and full of interdependencies between species that compete against each other, but are also essential for each other's survival.
We humans are fenced in our own abilities. We're always searching [for] things we can imagine. And we can't imagine how a tree brain should look like, and so no one has found it so far. - Peter Wohlleben
Peter Wohlleben spent two decades working for Germany's forestry commission and now manages an old beech forest in the municipality of Hummel, about 40 kilometres from Bonn. He's the author of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate.
Click 'listen' above to hear the full interview.