"When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you can no longer just chop them down and disrupt their lives with large machines.” - Peter Wohlleben. The Hidden Life of Trees.
Except that Peter Wohlleben’s book is anything but trippy; it’s backed by recent science on plant communication. The German conservationist writes from decades of experience studying old-growth forests in Europe, and argues that we’ve denied the consciousness of a vast array of plant life.
We know so very little about the complex lives of plants. Trees communicate using scent and electrical signals, but their pace is on a different timescale. What takes the human nervous system milliseconds to process can take trees an hour. Writes Wohlleben: "Beeches, spruce, and oaks all register pain as soon as some creature starts nibbling on them...the leaf tissue sends out electrical signals, just as human tissue does when it is hurt. The plant signal travels at the slow speed of a third of an inch per minute.”
Beyond what individual trees can do, forests, especially old-growth forests, like the Amazon rainforest, contain incredibly complex systems — large fungal webs that convey signals between trees, for example, and a vast number of microorganisms. Another mind-blowing factoid: “there are more life forms in a handful of forest soil than there are people on the planet"