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Publisher's Summary

Instant New York Times Best Seller

From the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest - a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery

Suzanne Simard 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 dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron's Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide. 

Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and 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 by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.  

Simard writes - in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways - how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies - and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them. 

Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them - embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey - of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival. 

©2021 Suzanne Simard (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“[Finding the Mother Tree] offers a chance for readers to get to know her more intimately - her insights, her humor, her struggles, her determination. It's an inspiring story of how a child in love with the woods became a world-renowned scientist discovering their secrets - and perhaps saving them in the process.” (Kristin Ohlson, New York Times best-selling author of six books, including The Soil Will Save Us, Stalking the Divine, Kabul Beauty School, and Life as We Know It)

“Suzanne Simard's research into the secret, communicative life of North American forests is utterly compelling. No one knows trees, from canopy to root tips, quite like she does.” (Charlotte Gill, winner of the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize for Eating Dirt and of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for Ladykiller

“Every once in a while a scientist comes along who can convey complex, technical ideas in a way that is both dazzling and profound. Suzanne Simard is such a one.... It is she who came up with the phrase, Wood Wide Web. It introduces new notions of symbiosis and co-evolution, communication and kin, notions that upend our definition of sentience.... Finding the Mother Tree taps into [a large] audience, of people moved by the idea that other organisms besides us are conscious, that the planet is a connected ecosystem, that salvation can be found in nature.” (Eugenia Bone, author of six books, including At Mesa’s Edge, Italian Family Dining, Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms, and Microbia: A Journey into the Unseen World Around You)    

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What listeners say about Finding the Mother Tree

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Beautiful science and story

Simard's groundbreaking life's work to help humans understand trees and forests is chronicled here beautifully--with vulnerability and intelligence, both--affording the reader a glimpse into forestry and environmental science alongside a beautifully told story of the life of a forester, scientist, researcher, professor, mother, and partner. Simard shares a story that is inspirational for our personal lives and also matters greatly for the life of the planet. Those who love Richard Powers' "The Overstory" will experience joy learning more about a primary influence of the character "Plant Patty," while those who love "Finding the Mother Tree" would surely love, and should add to their list, "The Overstory." I read Simard's remarkable book the first time for the personal story and am on my second read to gather all the scientific gems--I'll probably read a third time to integrate the two!

5 people found this helpful

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Absolutely INSPIRING!!!

Dr. Simard beautifully weaved autobiography and scientific essay into a wonderfully inspiring novel of what is most amazing about our planet. Highly recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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Forest breakthroughs

I'm a forestry buff and owner of 11 acres of firs, hemlocks and madrone. The content of this book is suitably technical and of real interest both for historical context and present day application. For the most part, the details of the author's personal life were of interest and properly balanced but at the end of the book a bit more editing for length would have been desirable. I enjoyed the author's narration throughout. One of the better tree books I've ever read.

3 people found this helpful

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A voice of reason in a world of imbalance

Suzanne Simard’s life’s work, meticulous, curious and constructive brings to light our history of exploitation and ignorance in “resource management” in BC. She has shown us where our mantra of more more more, and the fiction that has been constructed to justify it is not the only way, and comes at a terrible cost. Her careful study of complex forest, river and ocean system interactions points the way to a deep truths about the place of humans in the natural world, and the urgent need to abandon notions of our superiority. These unassailable truths are the key to a way forward for humanity in a time of climate change and catastrophic instability. If Darwin was the father of evolutionary theory, then Suzanne Simard is the Mother. It’s time for people to listen to the truth, to hear the voice of the Mother.

2 people found this helpful

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we are all one

Page by page, the revelations in the book are astonishing and nurturing to the soul as it reveals our connectedness to others. Not only how trees are connected to each other, the primary focus of her 40 years of research, but all plants are connected. and animals need that connectednes for fruitful survival. And plants and animals are likewise interconnected in this web of life. The revelations of her 40 years of scientific, university based research will astonish even those of us who have known spiritually this life supporting interconnectedness.
A must read for anyone who appreciates our relations with our friends and environment.

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Intricate and deeply moving

This is the one of the most intimate and deeply moving accounts I've read on revealing the connections intrinsic to forest ecology.

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Amazing Forests

I listened to Suzanne Sumatra on Science Friday and knew I would love the book. It was even better than I expected. I grew up in Coeur d Alene Idaho having fond memories of the forest, trees and lakes.

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Suzanne Simard is Amazing!

If, by end of this fabulous book, you’re not madly in love with Suzanne Simard, and the trees and the forests she seems apart of, you have no heart. This is a tour-de-force, one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to in 2021.

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Revolutionary, Moving Story

A wonderful mix of good hard science illustrating the best of the scientific message with an amazing story of growing up in the Arboreal forest British Columbia, eloquently written, fire scientist, forester, and naturalist who is faces down the powerful forestry industry, sexism, and cancer to give us a new appreciation for the life of forests. A must read for anyone who values life on this Earth.

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A Planet Changing Book

Suzanne Simard's long awaited story of her ground breaking life work and story that has made widely known that pure science now confirms the earth works through relationships. Now we know how! She openly shares the steps in her life that led her to and through the challenges of asking and unearthing questions about how trees, shrubs, and animals all impact one another. She explains the counter-productivity of clear cutting and mono-culture replanting of forests (they lack the nexessary diversity to survive). She shows that micorrhizal fungi creating the xonnective tissue that carry communication and nutrients from tree to tree, soil to tree, and even allow the wisdom and protective strength of older trees to younger ones. Her research has uncovered that not only do trees nourish and warn each other in the same species, but also those of differing species. She has also found the significance of allowong older trees to stay in the forest and pass their dying wisdom onto their offspring...our forests and ecosystem may rely on it.

1 person found this helpful