Finding the Mother Tree: A Conversation with Suzanne Simard
As a pioneer in the field of plant communication, ecologist Suzanne Simard has spent a lifetime rigorously documenting the forests of North America and the Arctic. Rather than simple collections of individual plants, these forests are complex communities of interdependent species that share resources and rely on one another for survival. Through this thought-provoking lens, Simard shares fascinating insights into how trees have evolved to perceive one another,recognize their neighbors, and remember the past; how they elicit warnings and mount defenses; and how they compete and cooperate with one another. She shows how these arboreal systems mimic both our neural networks and the structure of our civil societies, and how the ancient hubs of these communities—what she calls Mother Trees—play a crucial role in a given forest’s vitality.
A professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia and author of a new memoir, Finding the Mother Tree, Suzanne Simard, Ph.D., has been shaped by her personal journey, including a childhood spent in the logging world of British Columbia’s rain forests that taught her to love and respect trees.
Lecture followed by conversation with Todd Forrest, Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections, New York Botanical Garden.