I will be heading out into the wilds of the Tasmanian bush later this year when I walk near the more inhospitable edges of the Derwent River through old-growth forests; I will be walking away from any tracks and be remote from civilisation.
On this basis, it was with interest I read the article at http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/05/20/4236600.htm. New research about underground communication has extended 30 year old research which introduced the practice of above ground communication between plants in forests. There is talk of ‘mother’ trees.
Some readers might consider this is a crack pot viewpoint that has come out of the inclinations of green politics with which they don’t agree. So I checked who the researchers were, their affiliations were and whether any funding might be seen to skew their research findings.
Leading this research is an academic at the University of British Colombia, Professor/Dr Suzanne Simard who works in the Faculty of Forestry. Her research is grant funded by a neutral body, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada – so that the research findings are not created to support any organisation which wants a particular outcome. At her university, Simard leads Terre WEB (the Terrestrial Research on Ecosystem & World-wide Education and Broadcast project) a Masters and PhD degree level training program that focuses on effective communication of global change research.
You can watch and listen to Suzanne talking in a video as she walks in a forest: go to http://www.ecology.com/2012/10/08/trees-communicate/. She offers a simple but extraordinary explanation of the process. Takes less than 5 minutes to watch.