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Publisher's Summary

How do trees live? Do they feel pain or have awareness of their surroundings? Research is now suggesting trees are capable of much more than we have ever known.

In The Hidden Life of Trees, forester Peter Wohlleben puts groundbreaking scientific discoveries into a language everyone can relate to.

In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders, of which we are blissfully unaware.

Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.

Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown lives of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that ecofriendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.

After a walk through the woods with Wohlleben, you'll never look at trees the same way again.

©2015, 2016 Ludwig Verlag, Munich, part of the Random House GmbH publishing group. Jane Billinghurst. Tim Flannery. “Note from a Forest Scientist” by Dr. Suzanne Simard. (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"The matter-of-fact Mr. Wohlleben has delighted readers and talk-show audiences alike with the news long known to biologists that trees in the forest are social beings." ( The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Revealing the Wonders of the Forest

A beautiful account of the authors observations and findings on the very social lives of trees. The findings are intuitive and make sense when you step into a forest. You can feel the truth of it in how comforting a healthy, undisturbed forest feels to be in. Yet it is fascinating to learn the intricacies and details of how trees live, love, and learn together. The forest certainly is more than the sum of its parts. Beautifully and fittingly narrated as well I might add.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Eye Opening

One of the most enjoyable and listenable non-fiction (other than The Great Lectures) books I've come come across on Audible. I learned a lot about a subject that has been revolutionized recently.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Transformative book

This book has changed how I will see forests and trees forever. I have always felt restored by walks in the woods but now I have a glimpse into the complexities of forest that produce those feelings of serenity and of being transported to a different level of perception and being. Some books describe the science of nature; others the poetry of nature; but this book captures both in a wonderful illumination of forests.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Janning
  • Tijeras, NM, United States
  • 12-26-16

As I suspected all along...

Trees are beings. We may not understand them very well yet, but that speaks to our historically human-centric approach to the world. The central chapters of the book were, for me, elementary in their approach to plants and their interaction with soil, water, and insects, because I have an advanced degree in plant sciences, but it would be understandable by anyone even without any science background. However Wohllehben's overall message of the need and the reasons to preserve forests as valuable environments is eloquent.

The best parts of the book, for me, are the early and the final chapters where the author makes an excellent case for his premise that trees do communicate among themselves and that we have so much yet to learn about the natural world. He also explains in beautiful prose why he loves trees and forests. I share his passion and hope that this book with introduce it to a wider audience. We would all be the wiser for it.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Simplistic view from a simplistic forest

Would you try another book from Peter Wohlleben and/or Mike Grady?

Probably not

What could Peter Wohlleben have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Bringing more evidence of tree ecology from other sources that are not from his Bavarian place. As a tropical biologist, I found the references too simplistic in reference to this forest with such low diversity of tree species.

What does Mike Grady bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration sounds a bit paternalistic, very similar to a professor I once had, which I did not particularly liked

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Hidden Life of Trees?

The style of narrative as if trees made evolutionary decisions, or have personalities. I found that condescending and wrong

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Surprisingly captivating

I'd like to think I'm not a boring person (say all boring people, i'm sure). I say that to reassure myself after I found this book, about the life of trees, to be impossible to stop listening to.

Not only was the voice narrator a treat, but the subject felt as though I stumbled onto an unknown world. Trees, as it turns out, have fairytale like secrets we are only recently discovering.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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I feel bad for trees that grow alone now.

Would you listen to The Hidden Life of Trees again? Why?

This book was very dense with knowledge and done with a lovely narration. The author is very beech tree heavy, but the particular forests spoken about were European. The specific trees written about were not the essential point however. The book delved into the nature of trees as a whole with their resiliency, teamwork, and struggles against nature.

The most fascinating point of this book was how trees help each other. How much we could learn if we modeled our societies off of trees! I never thought of an isolated tree to be struggling and how ancient forests become this everlasting unstoppable force.

Definitely worth a second listen as the amount of information is very dense and difficult to digest, but this is more of an attribute then a detriment. I would have appreciated more historical information on trees or a slightly more engaging narrative, but overall this book was 5 stars.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Should be named The Amazing Hidden Life of Trees

So much is going on in and between trees and the environment & ecosystems. This audiobook gets in depth for many instances of amazingness - Trees support of and battles with one another, how trees can increase fish populations, the roles of trees throughout their lifespans. Sometimes this book seems to be an "all hail the mighty Beech" and sometimes limited to the battle between beeches & oaks. Still a wonderful listen where you'll learn to see and experience Trees differently.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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trees is a great story

this is a great book that tells a wonderful story about the lives of trees and the workings of the forest system

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Amazing revelations

I have spent many years in the woods and always sensed something greater than what I saw was happening. Now I'm beginning to understand what it is
Thank you for this book

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Cassandra
  • 07-12-17

absolutely fascinating

This book has changed so much about how I see trees and forests and ecosystems. it's on my Listen Again list. I would recommend it highly. Beautifully written and beautifully narrated. The most surprising moment was about conifer forests and how they make us feel.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-11-16

Well worth a listen

Really interesting and offers an opportunity to understand trees in a completely new light. Essentially as creatures themselves. Same bloke narrating as for Richard Forteys 'Wood for the Trees' so good tone and pace. Only snag as with all audiobooks is that you can't see the references to the scientific literature that is cited but a really nice listen nevertheless. Set up your hammock and enjoy!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Eve
  • 10-22-18

Fascinating, magical, thought provoking

This book is both absolutely fascinating and completely magical! If you love science and nature you will love this.
You will learn some amazing facts, the kind that make your jaw lower towards the floor...

I was left with an over riding feeling of...how on earth do we treat our farm animals/fellow humans as we do, when even non sentient (or are they!?) beings like trees have such complex inner lives and societies.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-22-18

Mind warming

This thoroughly enjoyable book is hugely thought provoking. It brings a stark light on received wisdom and should be mandatory for all environmental policy makers. I’m really looking forward to walking in the woods with newly gained insight.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Samantha
  • 07-22-18

love the book.

this is fantastic, but read it properly and don't bother with listening. poor narration spoils this very interesting work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Samuel James Smith
  • 06-22-18

very interesting read

I really enjoyed this book, you can really see how the patterns found in nature mirror or own lives

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • McKenna
  • 12-11-18

Fantastic book, beautifully read

Bought this on Kindle first, then this Audible version, which was quietly, gently read in a conspiratorial tone that draws you into the secrets of trees. And what secrets they are! As soon as I'd finished the book, I went back and listened again to random chapters. Cannot recommend highly enough. Masterful.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-05-18

brilliant

absolutely fantastic and will change forestry in the near future. beautifully described and wondrously new in its ideas and content.

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  • MR J A H JONES
  • 11-29-18

More science, less anecdotes.

Narration OK but not gripping.

Story is based on ancedotes rather than rigorous science, of which there is plenty. You'd be better off finding a science podcast about current research into trees

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  • Tom Farrington
  • 11-11-18

Truly Inspiring

A Fascinating Read. Highly Recommended. A true insight in to how interwoven life on earth truly is.