I love trees and forests. I’ve loved them since I was a girl, when I’d wander in the woods that backed up to our yard, build lean-tos, and feel some magical sense of wonder being around the trees. Even today, out on a walk, I’ll stop next to a tree, lean against it, touch it, and experience the bark. There’s a connection I’ve always felt, but never understood.
This Radiolab episode feeds right into those feelings and makes me suspect my feeling of connection is grounded in the trees themselves.
The episode introduces the idea that trees are not just single organisms doing their own individual thing, but part of interconnected forest networks, communicating not just with other trees—including other tree species—but also with underground fungi. It’s a network of exchanged resources, the trees depending on the fungi for minerals and the fungi depending on the trees for sugar.