Intrepid Ecologist, Suzanne Simard, Discovering Big Old Trees

SAN FRANCISCO – Professor Suzanne Simard is a remarkable woman – a passionate, courageous forest ecologist who has upended Canada’s, male dominated, planet-killing forestry sector.

Simard’s new book, Finding the Mother Tree, is an epic read loaded with curiositygrit, discovery, grief and triumph.

Fearless, intelligent, caring women are healing our planet. Simard is indeed amongst them.

Professor Suzanne Simard
Suzanne Simard with an ancient western redcedar Mother Tree.
Credit: Diana Markosian

Old-growth rainforests are superlative carbon storehouses and incomparable intercontinental climate-makers, secondly only to the oceans. We cannot inhabit this planet without old-growth inhaling carbon and exhaling oxygen.

That’s why the Earth Law Center is fighting tooth and nail to get the United Nations to finally adopt the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth of 2010, put forth by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia. If corporations have rights, why shouldn’t old-growth forests, globally?

The only way to survive man-made climate instability is to love old-growth forests and all life therein. And if there’s anyone who can help us get there and understand that old-growth is a living, breathing, dripping, structurally diverse and interconnected hallowed community, it’s Suzanne Simard and her breathtaking research outlined in Finding The Mother Tree.

YouTube player

Simard embraces Senegalese forester, Baba Dioum’s, dictum: “In the end we will conserve [protect] only what we love; we will love what we understand; and will understand only what we are taught.” She is a wonderful master teacher.

Her ecological work has centered around what the Indigenous Peoples revere, big old Mother Trees. Intuitively, the Indigenous Peoples refer to these wooden shrines as gatekeepers of the wisdom of the ages.

By the way, only 1% of the remaining earthly trees are giants. They hold an astounding 50% of the terrestrial carbon. Their well-being ensures our well-being. Therefore, every last one of these glorious living cathedrals must be protected.

Simard’s investigations have revealed the astonishing below ground fungal/tree root networks that are centered around Mother Trees and interconnect entire forests.

The intriguing world beneath old-growth forests is the key to the survival of planetary life. Where there are old-growth forests it is wet, and in this man-made climate catastrophe fresh water is priceless.

YouTube player

Simard has thoroughly documented Mother Trees sharing their food, carbohydrates, and water with their kin and non kin, in addition to other tree species via symbiotic mycorrhizal (fungal) networks interconnected with tree roots. An elegant interdependent example of forest reciprocity.

She has likened the complexity of the below ground network, or, wood wide web, to that of the neural network of a human brain. It’s strikingly similar!

The giant trees with mycorrhizal tree root webworks protect the forest from root diseases as well as supplying water during droughts for seedlings and saplings to survive. Healthy vibrant Mother Tree forests, in turn, provide homes for our brethren and sistren, the animals. Some of them, like the northern flying squirrels, least chipmunks and others, eat the fungal fruiting bodies, the mushrooms, and poop the spores, or, seeds, around the forest to re-inoculate the soils and invigorate the community.

Professor Suzanne Simard
After grizzlies, eagles, shrews and others have feasted upon spawning salmon, mycorrhizas tap into those decaying carcasses and extract nitrogen, which is then shared with tree roots. There is no waste within old-growth forests. Credit:

Additionally, there is no unemployment in nature’s old-growth forests, every single living thing plays a vital role in the enthralling concert of life. Everything depends upon the Mother Trees that support the well-being of the entire old-growth ecosystem. Those big old trees are indispensable. Hence, they must be spared from hideous chainsaw massacres.  

It turns out, as Simard has recorded, that when a Mother Tree eventually expires, it passes all its stored food, life force, into the elaborate wood wide web, which is shared amongst tree roots throughout the entire forest.

YouTube player

We have so much to learn from Mother Trees, and yet with the escalating clearfelling not much time to do so. Join the old-growth blockades with the Ancient Forest Alliance in British Columbia, Canada, and the Bob Brown Foundation in Tasmania, Australia, and make a difference!

Suzanne Simard, Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg and so many other brave smart women are providing the leadership and understanding of how to live in harmony with all planetary lifeforms.

Agitate. Disrupt. Defend.


Reese Halter

Reese Halter is a forest/ocean defender.
His latest book is GenZ Emergency.
Email: for your autographed copy.
In Australia, order from the Bob Brown Foundation by emailing:


Going Vegan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

432 New Coal Mines, The Bitter End

Next Story

Almighty GDP Supersedes Climate Code Red, Not For Long

Latest from The Life Slant

Fantastic February

Buds breaking,Unhurried unpacking,Potent phytoncides,Glorious grandness,Joyous jubilation!

Atlantic Rainforest #SOS

South America’s other species-rich tropical assemblage, the Atlantic Rainforest, is in dire shape. This priceless hotbed of