While mushrooms are the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of mycelium. These threads act as a kind of underground internet, now referred to as the "wood wide web" linking the roots of different plants and different species.
By linking to the fungal network they can help out their neighbors by sharing nutrients and information or by sabotaging unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals through the network.
Fungal networks also boost their host plants' immune systems. Simply plugging in to mycelial networks makes plants more resistant to disease.
Trees in forests are not really individuals. Large trees help out small, younger ones using the fungal internet. Without this help, many seedlings wouldn't survive. Seedlings in the shade, which are likely to be short of food, receive carbon from other trees. Trees talk, often and over vast distances.
Here are simple solutions for more holistic and sustainable forestry that could end the damage caused by clear cutting:
- We need to get out into our local forests more.
- We must save old growth forests as they are the repositories of genes, mother trees and mycelium networks.
- Where we do cut, we must save the 'legacy' mother trees and networks so they can pass their wisdom onto the next generation of trees.
- We must regenerate our forests with a diversity of species.
As more and more information comes to light about the complex relationships existing between trees, we are better equipped to save our forests and help them thrive. Scientists are helping us change our perspective so that we work in harmony with nature; something that could dramatically alter the trajectory of environmental disaster and bring harmonious outcomes for both humans and trees.
How are you helping forests? Adopt a green eco friendly lifestyle, ditch fossil fuels and plastics. Shop with us our natural eco friendly products, we donate part of our income to plant trees where most needed.
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