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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Trees Talking in the Forest

When the subject of communication comes up, people tend to think about words. These are spoken as well as the written forms of what can be spoken. There are studies of vocalizations and other sounds from animals and even insects for communication. Essentially, we tend to think of communication as something related to sounds and vibrations. It is a bit surprising to learn that plants also communicate.

the Master Engineer has equipped trees with tree mail to communicate
Modified from a US Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson
(Usage does not imply endorsement of site contents by the Marines or the US Department of Defense)
Trees, forests, nature — all are good for our physical and mental health. David Coppedge speaks from experience when he tells us the benefits of hiking and camping in God's creation. He pointed out that the Japanese have a healthy custom that they call forest bathingThis is not to be confused with California New Age wackiness of the same name. God has given us things that are both sanative and enjoyable.

The communications of trees has been referred to as "tree mail". Darwin's concept of competition for survival is uprooted because trees have been shown to not only protect themselves, but alert others through their network. (I can imagine: "Hey, I'm getting munched on over here. Everybody taste bad now!") They also invite fungi into their dwellings for a mutually beneficial arrangement: "Come to the forest side, we have cookies". Research is still underway and there is a great deal to learn, but the whole wood-wide web concept is fascinating. Yet again, we see that the Master Engineer has given living things what they need to survive and thrive.
Researchers are discovering that trees form communities that “talk” to each other, sharing their needs and providing mutual assistance. Yes, you heard me correctly. It’s mindboggling, even for someone like me who has spent his life studying nature’s wonders (forest ecology in particular).
Now, it’s important to remember that forests aren’t human or alive in any sense like animals (they lack the “breath” of life, or nephesh, according to God’s Word). Unfortunately, some current researchers blur the line, imbuing plants with animal or human attributes, such as feelings and consciousness, which they don’t have. The science itself is fascinating, without any need to make trees sound human-like.
When the Bible proclaims that “the trees of the woods” give glory to God, this metaphor may be a reality in unexpected ways.
To read the entire article or download the MP3 by my favorite reader, click on "Talking Trees — Secrets of Plant Communication".