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Trees Exchange Information With Each Other Using Earth's Natural Internet

Nov 10, 2016 04:13 AM EST
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Is it possible for trees to talk to each other? Yes, it's absolutely possible.

Scientists have described the secret of communication of trees as "Wood Wide Web," and just as the name indicates, the information exchange closely represents the internet. Veteran German forester Peter Wohlleben elaborated on this fascinating theory in his bestseller titled "The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate-Discoveries from a Secret World." He spent more than 20 years at Germany's forestry commission before he decided to implement his knowledge on ecology. Currently, he's operating environmental-friendly woodland in Germany, where he's devoted to get back the primeval forests.

Hidden underneath the bodies of trees is an information superhighway comprising a mass of thin threads, referred to as mycelium. These threads behave like a kind of natural underground internet that links the roots of various plants. The tree in your garden may be connected to a bush several meters away with the help of mycelia. Plants aren't sitting quietly growing by themselves. By linking to this natural network, they reach out to their neighbors and share information and nutrients. An interesting point to note is that they may sabotage undesirable plants by spreading poisonous chemical through this network. This way, the Wood Wide Web has its own cybercrime version.

Paul Stamets, a fungus expert, described this network as "Earth's Natural Internet" in a TED talk in 2008. While he was studying fungi with the help of an electron microscope, he found many similarities between mycelia and the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the early version of the internet.

Wohlleben stated that the roots of the trees are brain-like structures, with brain-like processes going on most of the time. These structures have chemicals and emit electric signals, and they keep on transporting information. He added that the mother tree can check its roots to find the conditions of the younger trees and determine whether those trees are its own child or someone else's.

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