Peter Wohlleben

Was wir der Natur antun, tun wir uns selber an.

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Bäume kommunizieren über Duftstoffe und über chemische sowie elektrische Signal-übertragungen miteinander. Werden beispielsweise die Blätter eines Baumes von Raupen angefressen, so teilt der befallene Baum dies seiner Nachbarschaft über Duftsignale mit. Sowohl der befallene Baum wie auch die benachbarten verändern daraufhin die chemische Zusammensetzung des Pflanzensafts in ihren Blättern – was von Bitterstoffen bis hin zu insektenspezifischen Giftstoffen reicht. Darüber hinaus verfügen Bäume auch über besondere Rettungslockdüfte, um natürliche Freßfeinde der angreifenden Insekten herbeizurufen.

Auch unterirdisch wird lebhaft kommuniziert. Ein Teelöffel Waldboden enthält mehrere Kiometer Pilzhypen. Der Vergleich dieser Pilzfäden mit der Glasfaservernetzung des Internets liegt nahe. Tatsächlich spricht man inzwischen schon vom „woodwideweb“.

2 thoughts on “Peter Wohlleben

  1. shinichi Post author

    Das geheime Leben der Bäume: Was sie fühlen, wie sie kommunizieren – die Entdeckung einer verborgenen Welt

    Peter Wohlleben

    Erstaunliche Dinge geschehen im Wald: Bäume, die miteinander kommunizieren. Bäume, die ihren Nachwuchs, aber auch alte und kranke Nachbarn liebevoll umsorgen und pflegen. Bäume, die Empfindungen haben, Gefühle, ein Gedächtnis. Unglaublich? Aber wahr! – Der Förster Peter Wohlleben erzählt faszinierende Geschichten über die ungeahnten und höchst erstaunlichen Fähigkeiten der Bäume. Dazu zieht er die neuesten wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse ebenso heran wie seine eigenen unmittelbaren Erfahrungen mit dem Wald und schafft so eine aufregend neue Begegnung für die Leser: Wir schließen Bekanntschaft mit einem Lebewesen, das uns vertraut schien, uns aber hier erstmals in seiner ganzen Lebendigkeit vor Augen tritt. Und wir betreten eine völlig neue Welt …

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    Hätten Sie gewußt, daß Buchen gerne kuscheln? Ja, auch wenn sie sehr nahe beieinanderstehen, konkurrieren sie keineswegs miteinander um Nährstoffe, Licht und Wasser, sondern bei Bedarf füttern sie sich wechselseitig – über das komplexe unterirdische Wurzel- und Pilzfädchensystem – mit Glucoselösung. Buchenkinder stehen sehr lange im Schatten ihrer Mutter, weshalb sie nur langsam wachsen können. Doch diese „Erziehung durch Lichtdrosselung“ führt zu wesentlich stabilerem Wachstum und somit auf lange Sicht zu überlebenstüchtigeren Buchen.

    Bäume kommunizieren über Duftstoffe und über chemische sowie elektrische Signal-übertragungen miteinander. Werden beispielsweise die Blätter eines Baumes von Raupen angefressen, so teilt der befallene Baum dies seiner Nachbarschaft über Duftsignale mit. Sowohl der befallene Baum wie auch die benachbarten verändern daraufhin die chemische Zusammensetzung des Pflanzensafts in ihren Blättern – was von Bitterstoffen bis hin zu insektenspezifischen Giftstoffen reicht. Darüber hinaus verfügen Bäume auch über besondere Rettungslockdüfte, um natürliche Freßfeinde der angreifenden Insekten herbeizurufen.

    Auch unterirdisch wird lebhaft kommuniziert. Ein Teelöffel Waldboden enthält mehrere Kiometer Pilzhypen. Der Vergleich dieser Pilzfäden mit der Glasfaservernetzung des Internets liegt nahe. Tatsächlich spricht man inzwischen schon vom „woodwideweb“.

    Reply
  2. shinichi Post author

    The Hidden Life of Trees: what they feel, how they communicate : discoveries from a secret world

    by Peter Wohlleben

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    When trees grow together, nutrients and water can be optimally divided among them all so that each tree can grow into the best tree it can be. If you “help” individual trees by getting rid of their supposed competition, the remaining trees are bereft. They send messages out to their neighbors in vain, because nothing remains but stumps. Every tree now muddles along on its own, giving rise to great differences in productivity. Some individuals photosynthesize like mad until sugar positively bubbles along their trunk. As a result, they are fit and grow better, but they aren’t particularly long-lived. This is because a tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it. And there are now a lot of losers in the forest. Weaker members, who would once have been supported by the stronger ones, suddenly fall behind. Whether the reason for their decline is their location and lack of nutrients, a passing malaise, or genetic makeup, they now fall prey to insects and fungi.

    But isn’t that how evolution works? you ask. The survival of the fittest? Their well-being depends on their community, and when the supposedly feeble trees disappear, the others lose as well. When that happens, the forest is no longer a single closed unit. Hot sun and swirling winds can now penetrate to the forest floor and disrupt the moist, cool climate. Even strong trees get sick a lot over the course of their lives. When this happens, they depend on their weaker neighbors for support. If they are no longer there, then all it takes is what would once have been a harmless insect attack to seal the fate even of giants.

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    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 larger machines.

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    A tree’s most important means of staying connected to other trees is a “wood wide web” of soil fungi that connects vegetation in an intimate network that allows the sharing of an enormous amount of information and goods.

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    But we shouldn’t be concerned about trees purely for material reasons, we should also care about them because of the little puzzles and wonders they present us with. Under the canopy of the trees, daily dramas and moving love stories are played out. Here is the last remaining piece of Nature, right on our doorstep, where adventures are to be experienced and secrets discovered. And who knows, perhaps one day the language of trees will eventually be deciphered, giving us the raw material for further amazing stories. Until then, when you take your next walk in the forest, give free rein to your imagination-in many cases, what you imagine is not so far removed from reality, after all!

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    If we want to use forests as a weapon in the fight against climate change, then we must allow them to grow old, which is exactly what large conservation groups are asking us to do.

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    There are more life forms in a handful of forest soil than there are people on the planet. A mere teaspoonful contains many miles of fungal filaments. All these work the soil, transform it, and make it so valuable for the trees.

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    An organism that is too greedy and takes too much without giving anything in return destroys what it needs for life.

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    Trees, it turns out, have a completely different way of communicating: they use scent.

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    Forest air is the epitome of healthy air. People who want to take a deep breath of fresh air or engage in physical activity in a particularly agreeable atmosphere step out into the forest. There’s every reason to do so. The air truly is considerably cleaner under the trees, because the trees act as huge air filters. Their leaves and needles hang in a steady breeze, catching large and small particles as they float by. Per year and square mile this can amount to 20,000 tons of material. Trees trap so much because their canopy presents such a large surface area. In comparison with a meadow of a similar size, the surface area of the forest is hundreds of times larger, mostly because of the size difference between trees and grass. The filtered particles contain not only pollutants such as soot but also pollen and dust blown up from the ground. It is the filtered particles from human activity, however, that are particularly harmful. Acids, toxic hydrocarbons, and nitrogen compounds accumulate in the trees like fat in the filter of an exhaust fan above a kitchen stove. But not only do trees filter materials out of the air, they also pump substances into it. They exchange scent-mails and, of course, pump out phytoncides, both of which I have already mentioned.

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    But the most astonishing thing about trees is how social they are. The trees in a forest care for each other, sometimes even going so far as to nourish the stump of a felled tree for centuries after it was cut down by feeding it sugars and other nutrients, and so keeping it alive. Only some stumps are thus nourished. Perhaps they are the parents of the trees that make up the forest of today. A tree’s most important means of staying connected to other trees is a “wood wide web” of soil fungi that connects vegetation in an intimate network that allows the sharing of an enormous amount of information and goods. Scientific research aimed at understanding the astonishing abilities of this partnership between fungi and plant has only just begun. The reason trees share food and communicate is that they need each other. It takes a forest to create a microclimate suitable for tree growth and sustenance. So it’s not surprising that isolated trees have far shorter lives than those living connected together in forests. Perhaps the saddest plants of all are those we have enslaved in our agricultural systems. They seem to have lost the ability to communicate, and, as Wohlleben says, are thus rendered deaf and dumb. “Perhaps farmers can learn from the forests and breed a little more wildness back into their grain and potatoes,” he advocates, “so that they’ll be more talkative in the future.” Opening

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    If a tree falls in the forest there are other trees listening.

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    Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. Next time, perhaps it will be the other way round, and the supporting tree might be the one in need of assistance. When thick silver-gray beeches behave like this, they remind me of a herd of elephants. Like the herd, they, too, look after their own, and they help their sick and weak back up onto their feet. They are even reluctant to abandon their dead.

    Every tree is a member of this community, but there are different levels of membership. For example, most stumps rot away into humus and disappear within a couple of hundred years (which is not very long for a tree). Only a few individuals are kept alive over the centuries, like the mossy “stones” I’ve just described. What’s the difference? Do tree societies have second-class citizens just like human societies? It seems they do, though the idea of “class” doesn’t quite fit. It is rather the degree of connection-or maybe even affection-that decides how helpful a tree’s colleagues will be.

    You can check this out for yourself simply by looking up into the forest canopy. The average tree grows its branches out until it encounters the branch tips of a neighboring tree of the same height. It doesn’t grow any wider because the air and better light in this space are already taken. However, it heavily reinforces the branches it has extended, so you get the impression that there’s quite a shoving match going on up there. But a pair of true friends is careful right from the outset not to grow overly thick branches in each other’s direction. The trees don’t want to take anything away from each other, and so they develop sturdy branches only at the outer edges of their crowns, that is to say, only in the direction of “non-friends.” Such partners are often so tightly connected at the roots that sometimes they even die together.

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    This is because a tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it.

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