Department of anthropomorphizing trees: The latest to make trees more human is Suzanne Simard, professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia. People have known about the beneficial fungi called mycorrhiza for a long time, but she upped the ante when she identified something called a “mother tree,” one of the largest trees in the forest, that acts as a central hub for the vast networkof mycorrhizae that grow beneath and around her roots.
Simard attests that these mother trees take care of the baby trees around them, even making room for them to grow among their roots. Douglas firs are her favored subject, but she also found that the firs trade sugars with the paper birches nearby, loaning a cup of sugar, as it were, to one in need. Her new Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest is a best seller, and hopefully will make more people fall in love with nature. It’s a good Mother’s Day present, in any case, although planting a tree in your mother’s yard might be a better one.
A small, polite quibble — the world is interconnected in so many real and magical ways.
Why do we have to create a “wood wide web” and give trees human qualities? To me, that diminishes the holiness of the enterprise.