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The Buried, Secret Lives Of Trees

This program originally broadcast on September 14, 2016.

The secret life of trees. They talk to each other, says forester Peter Wohlleben. They have families. We’ll sit down with the tree whisperer.

We walk in the forest and it feels wonderful. Alive. More alive than we know, says German forester Peter Wohlleben. The German woodsman has become a sensation in his home country writing about the secret life of trees in very human terms. About how trees talk and band together and defend themselves. Care for their young and old. Communicate through roots and sense and sound. Up next, On Point: The hidden life of trees. —  Tom Ashbrook 


Peter Wohlleben, forester. Author of the new book, “ The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From A Secret World.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian: The man who thinks trees talk to each other — “Trees have friends, feel loneliness, scream with pain and communicate underground via the ‘woodwide web’. Some act as parents and good neighbours. Others do more than just throw shade – they’re brutal bullies to rival species. The young ones take risks with their drinking and leaf-dropping then remember the hard lessons from their mistakes. It’s a hard-knock life.”

Macleans: For Peter Wohlleben, trees and humans aren’t so different — “Even small children know trees are living beings, says Peter Wohlleben, despite the fact you can burn them up in a cozy log fire. An amiable forester and the author of The Hidden Life of Trees, a bestseller in his native Germany—a country where forests are sunk deeply into the cultural DNA (think Grimms’ fairy tales)—Wohlleben is not morally troubled by the consumption of trees.”

New York Times: German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too — “Mr. Wohlleben, 51, is a very tall career forest ranger who, with his ramrod posture and muted green uniform, looks a little like one of the sturdy beeches in the woods he cares for. Yet he is lately something of a sensation as a writer in Germany, a place where the forest has long played an outsize role in the cultural consciousness, in places like fairy tales, 20th-century philosophy, Nazi ideology and the birth of the modern environmental movement.”

Read An Excerpt Of “The Hidden Life Of Trees” By Peter Wohlleben

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