The power of trees

Can trees communicate with each other?

Dr Peter Wohlleben, author of “The Secret Life of Trees: Thinking, caring and using the ‘wood-wide web’ to communicate” shares many discoveries in his new book.

The following is an example of communication of trees taking place on the African savannahs.

Umbrella thorn acacias defend themselves against giraffes in a unique way.  When giraffes commence browsing on the foliage, the acacias start pumping foul-tasting toxins into the leaves to discourage the animals from eating.  It happens in minutes and giraffes quickly move on, but not to the next tree!  As the trees come under attack, a warning gas called ethylene is also produced that signals a crisis to neighbouring acacias.  The neighbours react by dumping toxins into their own leaves as a defensive measure.  Giraffes will travel upwind to find trees to browse on that have not been warned against the threat.