Sunday, May 29, 2022

Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard

Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard is a solid work of nonfiction subtitled Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest. Simard is a professor of forest ecology and she writes an autobiography about her life and work with trees in British Columbia, where she grew up in a family of foresters, with logging a big part of their lives. 

She describes the forest as a living organism, one where trees share with one another what they need to survive. She writes how rather than reducing certain types of trees, diversity is needed for a healthy forest, something that goes against the "free to grow" way forests previously had managed, with killing alder to to try to foster the growth of more valuable pine. Simard writes how trees are connected through a fungal network of mycorrhiza, and how if you kill the mycorrhizal fungi that connects the trees, you ultimately reduce the health of the entire forest, pine and all. 

The book jacket notes it as "a story of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward" and it's a good mixture of ecology and personal memoir. Simard provides a dual narrative about connections, those in the forest and those in her life with those she loves. It's a compelling story which has been optioned for a movie starring Amy Adams and more can be learned about at