Book Talk: Suzanne Simard
University of British Columbia forest ecologist Suzanne Simard, long renowned among people who study forests and trees, showed the world what she has been about in decades of life and work in her brilliant book first published last year, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (Vintage). She kindly gave Elliott Bay readers a memorably wonderful zoom program for the hardcover, and is now down for this special Saturday afternoon with the paperback newly out.
“Simard has spent decades with her hands in the soil, designing experiments and piecing together the remarkable mysteries of forest ecology . . . elegantly detailed . . . deeply personal . . . A testament to Simard’s skill as a science communicator. Her research is clearly defined, the steps of her experiments articulated, her astonishing results explained and the implications laid bare: We ignore the complexity of forests at our peril.”—The New York Times. “Finding the Mother Tree reminds us that the world is a web of stories, connecting us to one another. Her vivid manuscript carries the stories of trees, fungi, soil and bears–and of a human being listening in on the conversation. The interplay of personal narrative, scientific insights and the amazing revelations about the life of the forest make a compelling story. Dr. Simard’s journey as a scientist embodies the power of curiosity coupled to commitment to listen to the natural world and the courage to share what she has learned, against the resistance of scientific establishment. I have great admiration for her science and her storytelling alike. These are stories that the world needs to hear.”—Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Co-presented by Elliott Bay Book Company and Hugo House.
Suzanne Simard is a Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia and the author of the book, Finding the Mother Tree.
She is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; and has been hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls in James Cameron’s Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.
Suzanne is known for her work on how trees interact and communicate using below-ground fungal networks, which has led to the recognition that forests have hub trees, or Mother Trees, which are large, highly connected trees that play an important role in the flow of information and resources in a forest. Her current research investigates how these complex relationships contribute to forest resiliency, adaptability and recovery and has far-reaching implications for how to manage and heal forests from human impacts, including climate change.
Suzanne has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and presented at conferences around the world. She has communicated her work to a wide audience through interviews, documentary films and her TEDTalk “How trees talk to one another”.