Is the Wood-Wide Web Real? Scientists Debate Whether Trees Really Talk.

Others, however, maintain that the vast wood web is on solid ground and believe that further research will confirm many of the hypotheses put forward about fungi in forests. Colin Averill, a mycologist at ETH Zurich, said the evidence presented by Dr Karst was impressive. But, he added, “the way I interpret this evidence is completely different.”

Most plant roots are colonized by mycorrhizal fungi, forming one of the most widespread symbionts on Earth. Fungi collect water and nutrients from the soil. They then exchange some of these treasures with plants in exchange for sugars and other carbon-containing molecules.

David Reid, then a botanist at the University of Sheffield, A 1984 paper showed that Compounds that are labeled as radioactive forms of carbon can flow through fungi between plants grown in the laboratory. Years later, Suzanne Simard, an ecologist with the British Columbia Ministry of Forestry, demonstrated two-way carbon transfer in a forest between young Douglas-fir and paper birch trees. When Dr. Simard and his colleagues shaded Douglas-firs to reduce the amount of photosynthesis, the trees’ absorption of radioactive carbon increased, indicating that the flow of below-ground carbon into the shaded understory increased. Can promote growth of young trees.

Dr. Samard and colleagues. published their findings in 1997 in the journal Nature, which splashed it on the cover and called the discovery “the vast web of wood.” Soon after, a group of senior researchers criticized the study, saying it had methodological flaws that confounded the results. Dr. Simard responded to the criticisms, and he and his colleagues developed additional studies to address them.

Over time, the criticisms died down, and Wood’s wide web gained followers. Dr. Samard’s 1997 paper has received nearly 1,000 citations 2016 The TED talk, “How Trees Talk to Each Other,” has been viewed more than 5 million times.

In his book “Hidden Life of Trees” which sold. Over 2 million copiesPeter Wohleben, a German forester, quoted Dr. Smerd when describing forests as social networks and mycorrhizal fungi as “fiber-optic Internet cables” that allow trees to communicate with each other about threats such as pests and drought. I help.

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