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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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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!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A very informative read.

Loved this one. Very informative and educational. I would recommend you listen to this book

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really interesting<br />

We really enjoyed this informative and very on interesting book which taught us a lot

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FASCINATING!!!

What an amazing, thought provoking book! You will never look at a tree the same way again! I loved it!

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Enjoyable and informative

I really enjoyed this book. Probably helped that I listened to it on holiday so I was pretty much sitting in a forest whilst listening to it! It’s informative without being a boring list of facts. I would highly recommend.

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very interesting read

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

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Eye opener

Great book and a real eye opener for anyone who spends time in the woods.

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A story everyone should know

I loved the story this book has to tell. And the perspective at which the trees are looked at, and plants in general. It is well known that plants are living beings like animals. But they are often objectified and their feelings, lifestyles and rights ignored. I recommend this book to everyone.

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highly informative

Although written for general consumption, making it easy to listen to, there was still a lot to learn, and after studying forestry most of this book was still new to me. I will listen again!

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  • Stuart
  • 03-10-16

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.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • brian
  • 05-01-17

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.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Janning
  • 26-12-16

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Kaysi12
  • 01-10-16

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.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Happy Woman
  • 10-01-17

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 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Bayville Buyer
  • 21-10-16

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 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel Cloudt
  • 25-01-17

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • beth merritt
  • 21-09-16

Delightful!

A bit long winded at times, but absolutely delightful! A nice blend of science and wonder!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Wolff
  • 29-03-17

A mostly good book.

I appreciated the authors attempt at staying with in scientific research. My only real qualm is that in trying to explain what is occurring he anthropomorphised the processes to a point that will lead to misunderstanding.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • ButtonButterbee
  • 03-11-16

Do you breathe? Read this book.

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

I will listen to it or read it again. It taught me so much about what's happening beyond the seemingly static outside of a tree. It helped me understand how vital, lively, and utterly necessary a healthy forest is. This book is something every school kid should have on their reading list.

Did you know that trees have a nervous system? That they strategically plan their growth? Help and support their family and neighbors? Most trees have the equivalent of brains in their roots. I saw a video of a tree getting transplanted by a giant spading machine the other day. I'd seen it once before and thought how cool it was that the tree's life was spared. Now I understand it got the equivalent of a lobotomy and a severely shortened life. This book will change your understanding of the world in a gentle and engaging way.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful