Hello! I hope you're having a great day.
This month I have been reading "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben, and it has inspired me to dive into the fascinating world of forests and the hidden wonders thriving underground.
One reason that many of us fail to understand trees is that they live in a different time scale than us. One of the oldest trees on Earth, a spruce in Sweden, is more than 9,500 years old. That's 115 times longer than the average human lifetime.
When I imagine myself in a forest, what comes to mind are the beautiful trees and ferns that surround the area, but I have come to understand that there is much more to a forest than meets the eye. A forest is not only a collection of trees, but rather an interconnected super-organism that relies on every member of its community to guarantee it's survival and prosperity. Trees in a forest have even developed a way of talking to each other and supplying nutrients to those in need.
A tree in the forest cannot survive on its own, so it's critical that it pairs up with someone that can help it survive. This partner is fungus and its web of cottony thread called Mycelium. Every tree has a specific type of mycelium it needs in order to create a successful partnership- for example, the oak milkcap and the oak tree- which greatly increases its functional root surface and allows the tree to absorb almost twice the amount of water and nutrients from the soil. But that's not all this relationship does, for it also grants the tree access to the Wood Wide Web.
This social network transmits signals from one tree to another, helping the trees exchange news about insects, droughts, and other dangers. This connection even provides the ability to transfer nutrients to those in need, including those who would be considered their competition, which doesn't make much sense at first until we realize that a tree alone cannot establish an ecosystem. Trees need consistency, and when there is a forest of them they are no longer at the mercy of wind and weather, for now they are able to create their own micro-climate.
The sad thing is, we have enslaved many trees because of our agricultural systems, which has caused them to lose their ability to communicate, and have ultimately rendered them deaf and dumb. There is hope though, and i'd like to showcase the incredible work of David Milarch and his personal quest to protect the redwoods from the dangers of climate change.
I am happy to announce that our team at Vial + Ivy have committed ourselves to the Moving the Giants initiative, and would like to invite you to do the same. If planting a tree is not a suitable option for you, let us know and we can plant one on your behalf.
Another thing I found fascinating about trees is the fact that their leaves have the ability to identify predators by distinguishing saliva. This ability to identify saliva allows trees to mount their own defenses, such as releasing toxic chemicals that outright kills the insects or causes the taste of their leaves to become extremely bitter. Willows, for example, produce Salicylic acid, a precursor to aspirin, which is why a tea made from willow bark can relieve headaches and bring down fevers.
Now, this is only a piece of what I learned recently about the forests, but I hope you enjoyed reading about it, and feel free to reach out to me if you would like to discuss things further. I'd like to thank you for joining me for this month's newsletter, and I hope you'll join me back here next month. Take care and have a great day!
How many trees live on Earth?
Ancient trees are disappearing from protected national forests around the world. A look inside $100 billion market for stolen wood
More than 60,000 species are currently living. Many of them are in trouble, according to the world’s first global trees database.
(I thought this might be helpful if you need help focusing)