On May 4, 2021, UBC Forestry professor and globally renowned expert in forest ecology and silviculture systems Dr Suzanne Simard will release her book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest.
Even in advance of its release, the book is gaining critical acclaim. New York Times best-selling author Michael Pollan describes the book as a piece of literature that will “change our understanding about what is really going on when a tree falls in the forest, and other pressing mysteries about the natural world.” It takes readers on a journey that depicts “forests as social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.”
Simard credits the role of her students in the advancement of this work and contributing to her lab’s monumental discovery that forests have hub trees, or Mother Trees. These large, highly connected trees play an important role in the flow of information and resources in a forest and are named to reflect their role in nurturing the trees around them.
“The findings would not have been possible without the contributions of the up-and-coming researchers I have the privilege of working with,” says Simard. “Since my career began with the Faculty 19 years ago, I have been able to guide these gifted students who continue to amaze me with their observations and analytical skills.”
What is the Mother Tree Project?
The Mother Tree project is investigating forest renewal practices that will protect biodiversity, carbon storage and forest regeneration as climate changes.
In 2015, the Mother Tree Project was officially initiated with funding from a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Strategic Partnership Grant and from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).
Nine study locations were set up in interior Douglas-fir-dominated forests throughout British Columbia, with the objective of developing strategies for helping forests remain healthy, vigorous and adaptive as climate changes.
The project’s suite of contributing researchers continues to expand and evolve and it is progressively gaining international attention by influencers such as environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr and former prime minster of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, both becoming outspoken supporters of Simard’s work. Her TED Talk, “How Trees Talk to Each Other”, translated into 32 different languages, continues to attract attention on a weekly basis, and currently has almost 4.7 million views from fans around the world.
Where to Get the Book
You can pre-order the book online, and it will soon be available at your local bookstores and libraries.