Book Review: “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

hidden life of treesIn Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Overstory, there is a character who has dedicated her life to the study of trees and discovers that they are capable of communicating with each other. While this may sound fantastic, there is a growing amount of real science behind the idea, and I had been very curious about it ever since having read the book last year. In The Hidden Life of Trees, German forest manager Peter Wohlleben goes into great detail about the latest discoveries on the subject. It is absolutely incredible to learn just how much chatter is going on in our forests. As it turns out trees are sharing information with each other about everything from the weather to invading insects to their own well-being. Even more startling is to learn the trees are known to care for sick or malnourished relatives in times of need, and do their best to ensure a comfortable climate for all trees, related or otherwise. Of course, there is still competition for resources, but largely it seems that trees are better off in a dense, naturally occurring forest than on their own or in human-planted copses. There are a few chapters in the middle that tend towards information about life in the woods that most who have watched even a few nature documentaries are probably already aware of, but otherwise this is a fascinating book filled with absolutely revelatory information; always told in an engaging manner. By the end you’ll find yourself eager to take a walk in the forest, and never looking at it the same again. ★★★★ – Sean Farrell

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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