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Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (2021)

by Suzanne Simard

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1946110,912 (4.16)10
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» See also 10 mentions

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This book is one of a series of science books that have been written in the past several years that have been written by women. Again we see the challenges faced by women to be recognized by their fellow scientists. The topic of her research is ecology, specifically the ecology of the Pacific Coast Forest. As A post Doc I collaborated with a scientist who worked with the Pacific Coast Forestry Service so I have a particular interest in this book and the subject matter. I was somewhat disappoint in that I though that there was not enough science in the book; however, I was not the target audience. Definitely a book that everyone should read. ( )
1 vote BobVTReader | Sep 18, 2021 |
Simard presents her scientific findings in an accessible way, combining science and autobiography. This work provides fascinating insight into forest ecology and the ways the forests are interdependent ecosystems, in addition to showcasing the problems with capitalist modes of production that prioritize money over ecological wellbeing - as Simard notes, the forest companies priorities is making money, not leaving healthy trees where they are. Furthermore, we gain insight into the challenges of a woman working in forestry - the attitudes she experiences from male colleagues, and the difficulties in balancing family and career. This can provide intriguing feminist analysis as well. Although this is a scientific work and autobiography, it can also strongly appeal to those with socialist, environmental and feminist inclinations. ( )
  WaldensLibrary | Sep 17, 2021 |
This is partly a science book. It tells about the author's research into the ways trees are connected to, communicate with, and care for each other. That alone is fascinating. The science is presented in a very accessible way.

It is also partly a biography, telling the story of the author's life and her life-long interest in forests. She comes from a family of loggers and wants to ensure the industry remains sustainable. Her research puts her at odds with many colleagues, but she perseveres even through personal challenges. This was my favourite aspect of the book. ( )
1 vote LynnB | Aug 12, 2021 |
Simard’s research in forestry reveals that trees communicate and coordinate resources and defenses. The autobiographical elements that she includes here show how humans have insinuated themselves into natural processes. Turns out that we need the forest much more than it needs us.
1 vote MusicalGlass | Jun 28, 2021 |
Suzanne Simard, professor at the University of British Columbia, studied how mycorrhizal fungi and roots facilitate communication and interaction between trees and plants of an ecosystem. She introduced the idea of the Mother Tree, the largest trees in forests that act as central hubs for vast below-ground mycorrhizal networks. A mother tree supports seedlings by infecting them with fungi and supplying them the nutrients they need to grow. This book details the work she conducted to arrive at these conclusions, and the early pushback she received within the scientific community.

I had heard her speak on a podcast, and wanted to delve into her thinking. This book provided all the details I wanted to read about, and then some. I was with her for the first 3/4 of the book, and then the descriptions of her research began to blur for me. Where was she now? What next thing was she trying to prove? Or was this next experiment a repeat of previous work? I feel like I could have used an outline of her research to accompany the text. In any case, I skimmed the last 1/4 of the book, just looking for the gist of what she was trying to say. That said, this is an important book - or at least the concepts are important for all of us to understand. Trees do communicate both within species and out of species. They communicate through fungi on root systems. They help each other along mutually throughout the year. The oldest trees provide much-needed carbon to the younger plants. Clear-cutting forests and planting one species is a recipe for disaster. Kudos to the author for her dedication to this field. ( )
1 vote peggybr | Jun 16, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Suzanne Simardprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blair, KellyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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But man is part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself. -- Rachel Carson
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For my daughters, Hannah and Nava
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For generations, my family has made its living cutting down forests.
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