Thirty years ago, forest ecologist Suzanne Simard was a lone voice in the wilderness, arguing that commercial logging practices were destroying the symbiotic relationships between different tree species. She showed how mycorrhizal networks fused with tree roots to create complex systems of communication and cooperation. Today, Simard is a celebrated scientist. Her concept of “mother trees” helped inspire James Cameron’s blockbuster movie "Avatar," and she was a model for one character in Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Overstory.” In this interview, she reflects on her childhood growing up in a Canadian logging family, her pioneering insights about “forest intelligence,” and why she talks to trees.
Human identity cannot be separated from our nonhuman kin. From forest ecology to the human microbiome, emerging research suggests that being human is a complicated journey made possible only by the good graces of our many companions. In partnership with the Center for Humans and Nature and with support from the Kalliopeia Foundation, To The Best Of Our Knowledge is exploring this theme of "kinship" in a special radio series.
To learn more about the Kinship series, head to ttbook.org/kinship.
Original Air Date: April 01, 2022
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