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The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, Discoveries from a Secret World (2015)

by Peter Wohlleben

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Mysteries of Nature Trilogy (1)

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3,5071113,596 (3.98)154
Are trees social beings? Forester and author Peter Wohlleben makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.… (more)
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» See also 154 mentions

English (96)  German (5)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
A fluid read packed with interesting research on trees translated to an exciting and accessible language.

However, at the same time the book often foregoes accuracy of scientific language in favour of personification of the trees, describing evolution as cause, extending metaphors of internet to micelial networks and more!

Basically the book may mislead thise who don’t understand how biological research works, and what it means to apply certain metaphors to physical systems. ( )
  yates9 | Feb 28, 2024 |
If you are lucky, a handful of times in your life you will encounter a book that changes the way you look at the world. The Hidden Life of Trees is just such a book (which is why I'm giving it five stars without a re-read). Wohlleben drew me in with a great combination of science and artistic description. I just want to give every book-reader I know a copy.
Now, it must be said: There's lots of solid science here, but Wohlleben employs language that most scientists and science writers would not feel comfortable using. He intentionally chooses to describe trees as volitional beings that make choices, instead of merely reacting to stimuli. He openly admits (although somewhat belatedly and not frequently enough, IMO) that this point of view and narrative choice are controversial. But at least he is open about this and is not letting people think that his is a widely shared opinion. Because of Wohlleben's honesty on this point, I can enjoy (and even entertain) his ideas in a way that I could not if he were less forthcoming. ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
Rather too anthropomorphic for my tastes. ( )
  boermsea | Jan 22, 2024 |
I guess I've grown cynical and dubious in my older age. I really wanted to enjoy Peter Wohlleben's tale of trees that communicate, feel, think, adapt, and more... but he tends to use really flowery language without providing any kind of scientific citations, and for lofty claims such as these, I feel a need for more citations. ( )
  nakedspine | Nov 16, 2023 |
This I'd really a four star book, but I rated it five seeing that this topic is very important for everyone to understand and need to be dealt with swiftly. ( )
  adze117 | Sep 24, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Wohlleben's anecdotes are engaging, but sadly his book contains only a few.
added by MarthaJeanne | editNew Scientist, Sandrine Ceurstemont (Oct 29, 2016)
 

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wohlleben, Peterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Billinghurst, JaneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flannery, TimForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kytömäki, AnniForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tresca, CorinneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alle Natur, alles Wachsen, aller Friede, alles Gedeihen und Schöne in der Welt beruht auf Geduld, braucht Zeit, braucht Stille, braucht Vertrauen. (Hermann Hesse)
The Earth has its music for those who listen.
(William Shakespeare)
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Years ago, I stumbled across a patch of strange-looking mossy stones in one of the preserves of old beech trees that grows in the forest I manage.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine this book with the illustrated edition; they are not the same book. The illustrated edition contains a much shorter version of the text as well as many photographs.
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Are trees social beings? Forester and author Peter Wohlleben makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.

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