Webinar: Dispatches from The Mother Tree Project

October 22, 2020

Any forester will tell you that different trees have different value, and that value is generally set by the marketplace. But what if the value of some trees is below ground rather than above it?

This is the central question of The Mother Tree Project, which is providing scientific data to help direct management of forests under a changing climate. Professor Suzanne Simard, the leader of this project, has been researching the below-ground connections among Douglas-fir trees and other plants for over 30 years.

Mother trees are typically the biggest trees in the forest, and they connect to other trees via a vast underground mycorrhizal network. It is well known that these networks allow trees to share resources and even alert each other to threats. Mother trees also support forest regeneration by providing resources to seedlings.

Suzanne’s research has shown that trees become more dependent on mycorrhizal networks when they are stressed, such as in hotter and drier climates. So the Mother Tree Project is experimenting with a range of forestry practices in different climatic regions, to learn how to create more resilient forests for the future.

In this webinar, Suzanne provides updates on the latest research from The Mother Tree Project, including:

  • an overview of the project’s nine study locations throughout British Columbia
  • the project’s “space for time” theory
  • behaviour of mother trees toward genetically-related and stranger seedlings
  • the impact of drier climate on Douglas-fir forests
  • how clearcutting and partial harvesting affect carbon storage and diversity

By the end of this webinar session you will have a better scientific understanding of the role of mother trees and the advantages of retaining them during harvesting.

About Suzanne Simard

Dr Suzanne Simard is a Professor of Forest Ecology in the UBC Faculty of Forestry and the leader of The Mother Tree Project. She holds a PhD and MSc in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University and a BSF in Forest Resource Management from UBC. She obtained Registered Professional Forester Status in 1986.

Suzanne has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and presented at conferences around the world. She has communicated her work to a wide audience through interviews, documentary films and her TED Talk. Her upcoming book, Finding the Mother Tree , will be published in 2021.

Suzanne Simard

Suzanne Simard

Leader of The Mother Tree Project

Find Suzanne online:

The Mother Tree Project
UBC Faculty Profile
Google Scholar

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