Ep. 80: Finding the Mother Tree - Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (feat. Prof. Suzanne Simard)

Professor Simard's must-read first book "Finding the Mother Tree" is OUT NOW:
This book will change how you see forests and how you understand the relationships between trees and fungi.

Today we have the humbling opportunity to speak with the incomparable Professor Suzanne Simard. Suzanne is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is both dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (think James Cameron’s Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide. We’ve had the chance to read an early copy of her first book “Finding the Mother Tree” and have been mesmerized by how Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates vital truths – that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks full of mycorrhizal fungi by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities and living communal lives not that different from our own.   


  • Simard Family Origins and a Life-long Love with Old Growth Forests   
  • “Free-to-Grow” Policies   
  • Competition vs. Cooperation Views of Forest Ecology   
  • Discovering the Mycorrhizal Network   
  • PhD Research – Transfer of Carbon between Trees via Mycorrhizae   
  • Groundbreaking Research Published in “Nature” in 1997   
  • Women in Forestry   
  • How Do Trees & Fungi Benefit from Their Mycorrhizal Relationships?   
  • Mapping a Mycorrhizal Network   
  • What is a Mother Tree?   
  • Benefits of Uniting Anthropomorphic Epistemologies and Scientific Research   
  • Aboriginal, First Nation & Indigenous Systems of Knowledge   
  • An Intimate View of Suzanne’s Life to Humanize Scientific Endeavour   
  • “The Mother Tree Project”, Future Plans & Future Research   



  • It seems obvious in retrospect that we should not prioritize control over the understanding of forest diversity. Thankfully Suzanne Simard is able to highlight the impact of our roles in nature and how focusing on profits can lead to super unsustainable practices and an unhealthy ecosystem. Amazing interview.

    Adam Alexander
  • What a great understanding of how the forest ecology and symbiotic relationship between the diversity of the plants is so important to the health of the land. Great listen!

    Carlee Leonhard

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