Friday, January 6, 2012

Social Behavior of Trees - communities of the forest

Apparently, more accurate and deeper knowledge is leading us towards an understanding of how trees interact among themselves and unite for the benefit of the whole.A rudimentary social behavior has been observed recently in studies of forest trees. Using their roots systems, a forest "community" has a natural way of survival by exploiting fungi to communicate among themselves. Where there is need, but in a healthy network, nutrients are shared among trees. So the microcosm of a tree stand, or the ecosystem of an area has trees playing certain roles. This video show the results of recent studies where a "mother tree" shares resources to younger ones in the area, irrespective of species. This concept is extremely interesting and can explain some of the strange things that can happen in a forest ecosystem. This is new knowledge, something to watch in the future, as we try to protect our ecosystems. Planting a couple of trees in the front yard of newly built homes just doesn't do the trees justice. Our planting habits tend to be like a zoo for trees. "There's a good spot. It will look good there." We need to change to consider the social behavior benefits of trees in a forest ecology network.

We are about to embark on another cycle of planting trees.I will keep this in mind as I plan my reforestation. Just think, assuming this is correct which I truly believe, we have destroyed the forest and expect our trees to survive a drought when their social infrastructure has been destroyed. The Woodlands Texas needs to better understand the relationships among our trees to be able to comprehend what it means to humans to live in the forest and to maintain a healthy tall canopy and a diverse ecology below it. Our motive is visual but our tactics need to be focused on their health.

The Mother Tree of the Forest , Prof. Suzanne Simard talks about Mother trees
Video by: Dan McKinney; Producer: Julia Dordel, 2011

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