The Hidden Life of Trees
This ground-breaking book, enormously popular in the author’s native Germany, has been quickly translated into English, maintaining the wildfire spread of its (r)evolutionary thesis. That trees feel , communicate, have families and society has been captured often in fiction, memorably by J.R.R Tolkien’s giant Ents in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, this book bridges the divide between science and fiction, providing an evidence-based series of stories which bring trees to life in a distinctly human way. This should help a vastly larger audience to understand and explain that which they, probably and intuitively, already feel.
Peter Wohlleben is a former forestry officer who has well and truly jumped the fence, taking trees in our consciousness where Peter Singer so memorably took animal liberation in the 1970s. The poor life of the plantation forest mirrors the battery farm, impoverishing us all. In a similar vein, the experience of the lonely street tree, ‘fighting for its life’ in a dense urban setting, may be seen as a metaphor for our own alienation. Perhaps the author’s anthropomorphising of trees will ‘arboromorphise’ us, providing an empathetic foundation for rediscovery of the clean air and deep calm of a walk in an old growth forest.