Hidden Life of Trees

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#1)  Hidden Life of Trees

Postby BOinBoston » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:54 am

I was wondering if anyone has read: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World.
by Peter Wohlleben
. This German forester has  been interviewed by several news sources. I'm reading the book now. What do others think?
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#2)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby Joe » Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:10 pm

It's been discussed in several threads: search.php?keywords=Wohlleben

hey, I finally understand how to use the search function here, thanks to: viewtopic.php?f=166&t=7851

We can keep the discussion going here, or go to one of those and add a post.
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#3)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby DwainSchroeder » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:47 pm

I read the book a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it.  It presented a good amount of science as well as the author's personal experience and insight as an observer of tree behavior. I learned a lot and he also verified some of my own thoughts and theories about trees.  

As might have been mentioned in another thread, some of his ideas seemed a little far out in that he sometimes hinted at trees having human like emotions.  But I think that was more his style of looking at life, and it was fine.  I would recommend the book.

Two other tree books I have read in the past year or so:
1) "The Man Who Planted Trees" ("Lost Groves, Champion Trees") by Jim Robbins.  The book tells the story of David Milarch, perhaps sometimes a bit eccentric, but a very passionate man when it comes to saving trees.  You can buy it used on the internet - very low cost.
2) "Purdue Number One" by Walter Beineke.  The book tells the story of Professor Walter Beineke who spent his career searching the Midwest for superior timber type trees (mostly black walnut), and then cloning them for propagation. It's easy light reading.  It's not really science oriented - more just story telling.  And of course its more about the timber aspects of trees and university research work.  I enjoyed the book because I am familiar with his work and I've got a few of his cloned trees.  I believe the book is available, used on the internet - low cost.  (it's not the kind of subject matter that excites many people so its' no best seller...)

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#4)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby wisconsitom » Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:19 pm

Heard Wohlleben interviewed not once but twice on NPR.  I found it interesting.  The man speaks with a heavy German accent, so there's that, but I found his approach at least somewhat similar to many of ours;  He is fascinated by the mycorrhizal network and things of that nature and so am I.  I heard him say one thing which gave me pause;  He stated that in his research, much focus has been placed on the beech tree.  He used some unusual language to describe this species, calling it "very aggressive" and here's the part that I got stuck on....he stated that a beech tree is only as closely related to an oak as an elephant is to a dog, or some such comparison-I don't recall the animals he used......but I'm thinking, hey beech and oak are both in the same family-the Fagaceae-so that's not so distant a relationship it doesn't seem to me.  Yet he made that point.  I don't know.  Seemed off to me.  But in the main, enjoyed listening to the guy.
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#5)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby KoutaR » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:16 pm

Wisconsitom,

I think he concentrates on beech just because it is the main tree species in his own forest plot. It is also the most abundant native tree in the German lowlands (Norway spruce is the most abundant but it is not native in the lowlands). If Germany was in its natural state large areas of the lowlands would be dominated by beech, so it is no wonder a man who works for natural forestry concentrates on beech. (Though if Homo sapiens did not exist there would be elephants that would keep forest more open and beech might not be the most abundant tree.)

I don't think he does research himself, apart from silvicultural tests. With "very aggressive" he may mean that beech is extraordinarily competitive in Central Europe's climate, being able to invade the stands of other tree species apart from sites too wet, dry etc.

I have read two books of him. I stated my opinions of "Hidden Life" here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=7489 , so I don't repeat them here. It may be that he exaggerates in his writings because he want to provoke and that laymen understand him. If so, I find his writings okay. However, I am not a fan.

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#6)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby Joe » Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:55 am

Kouta, how many tree species were lost during the Pleistocene in Europe north of the Alps? Both the fauna and flora must have been very different before the glaciers.
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#7)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby KoutaR » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:18 pm

Joe,

In the Tertiary, temperate Europe's tree flora was probably even richer than that in temperate eastern NA. Now the latter region has about two times more tree spp. than the former. As species went to extinction also in NA, it can be estimated that the glaciers destroyed well over the half of the European trees. But I don't know the exact number - probably nobody knows. Indeed, the fauna and flora must have been different - even the landforms, particularly in northern Europe. For example, there were no thousands of lakes in Finland like now. No till that is now the most common sediment type. And so on.

Back to the original topic: "Nature" has a review about the book, which I agree with:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v5 ... 7306a.html
Only thing I don't like is the claim Bialowieza is the only undisturbed forest in Europe. It is not even the most undisturbed forest!

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#8)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby Joe » Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:00 pm

BOinBoston wrote:I was wondering if anyone has read: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World.
by Peter Wohlleben
. This German forester has  been interviewed by several news sources. I'm reading the book now. What do others think?
Bo


Yale's "Environment 360" web site now has an interview of Wohlleben: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/are_trees_ ... eben/3055/

Probably a "nice guy" with a good heart, but as a forester- he's ---uh... rather eccentric.

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#9)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby Lucas » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:24 pm

http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/th ... c-13-2016/

NON-FICTION
BOOK NAME Author Last week (Weeks on list)
THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES Peter Wohlleben 1 (14)
BORN TO RUN Bruce Springsteen 2 (11)
TESTIMONY Robbie Robertson 3 (3)
99: STORIES OF THE GAME Wayne Gretzky 4 (9)
THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO Amy Schumer 7 (17)
BORN A CRIME Trevor Noah 6 (3)
THE UNDOING PROJECT Michael Lewis (1)
THE SCIENCE OF WHY Jay Ingram 8 (4)
THE PROMISE OF CANADA Charlotte Gray 5 (8)
HILLBILLY ELEGY J.D. Vance 10 (16)

I was surprised to see it #1 on this Cdn bestseller list.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir
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#10)  Re: Hidden Life of Trees

Postby BOinBoston » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:01 pm

Thanks everyone for responding.( I haven't tuned in because I was not notified of responses and didn't think anyone commented--just finding out how things work here. I found the responses interesting, as well as other links provided. THANK YOU.

I think the author's use of emotions for trees was controverisal, but It worked OK for me and was possibly Wohlleben's way of getting folk's attention, on how trees are hurt, or destroyed in nature.  It may be more palliable for women. It answered one question I wondered about as I walk through the forest is why birch trees don't seem "to hold up", as well as other trees in the forest and woods. I think the author answered that very nicely, and I like how he spoke about the different strategies of survival that trees use especially between deciduous and coniferous trees and even between the different deciduous species.
We also gave a wonderful example of how the birches can help/cooperate with Douglas fir trees in helping them survive. I really enjoyed the book and the info will hopefully allow me to appreciate the forest floor and what's happening below.

I've just ordered another book "Lab Girl". My understanding is that it has a couple themes. One is talking about seed and plant survival, and as I read one chapter on line, author seems to marvel how plants survive. She has a compelling way of writing about plants/trees in general. The other theme is the under appreciation of woman in research environments. Also interested to know what others thought about this book
Last edited by BOinBoston on Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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