Listening to the Trees

What the forest can teach us about ourselves

Suzanne Simard (Photograph by Diana Markosian)
Suzanne Simard (Photograph by Diana Markosian)

Suzanne Simard, an ecologist at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Forests and Conservation Sciences, has dedicated her life to mapping the relationships between trees: how they send nutrients to one another, remember the past, warn their neighbors of disease or drought, and support their offspring. Her new memoir, Finding the Mother Tree, tells how her work has unfolded from her first discoveries of mycorrhizal fungi in the “wood wide web” to the inheritance left behind by dying trees and the life-giving force of the largest elders. Simard used isotopes and mass spectrometers to quantify the Indigenous knowledge that inspired her  to study the interconnectedness of forest communities—and our human ones. She joins us on the podcast to discuss what we might all learn from trees.

Go beyond the episode:

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.

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Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!

Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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