Tag: understory

Check out this story about what’s beneath the forest floor

Check out this story about what’s beneath the forest floor

In Chapter Four of The Power of the Crystalline Trees, Lan has an experience with the “wood wide web” This story by Robert Macfarlane is about the magic underneath the soil in a forest.

Here’s an excerpt:

IN THE EARLY 1990s a young Canadian forest ecologist called Suzanne Simard, studying the understory of logged temperate forests in northwest British Columbia, observed a curious correlation. When paper birch saplings were weeded out from clear-cut and reseeded plantations, their disappearance coincided with first the deterioration and then premature deaths of the planted Douglas fir saplings among which they grew.

Foresters had long assumed that such weeding was necessary to prevent the young birches (the “weeds”) depriving the young firs (the “crop”) of valuable soil resources. But Simard began to wonder whether this simple model of competition was correct. It seemed to her plausible that the paper birches were somehow helping rather than hindering the firs: when they were removed, the health of the firs suffered. If this interspecies aid-giving did exist between trees, though, what was its nature—and how could individual trees extend help to one another across the spaces of the forest?

Keep reading!