BC Professor’s Mother Tree Investigation Branches Out Into Best-Selling Book and Motion Picture Offering | The Canadian News

The unique research of a British Columbia forestry professor and best-selling book showing how trees are deeply connected communities has caught the attention of Hollywood.

Professor Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia says she is overwhelmed by the newly discovered celebrity status, but wants to continue her focus on saving forests.

Simard said she hopes to sign a deal within a few weeks to become an executive producer on a film about her life and research after production companies backed by actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams obtained the film rights to her book, “Finding The Mother Tree: “Discovering the wisdom of the forest.”

“Amy Adams is going to play me, apparently,” Simard said. “That’s the plan. Yeah, it’s kind of weird.”

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The film, book and ongoing research will serve to broaden global knowledge about the sophisticated relationships trees have with the environment and raise public concern about the threats they face, he said.

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“I would rather my life not spill into movies, but I am interested in helping us move forward in a more sustainable way,” said Simard, 61, in an interview from Nelson, BC.

“People are hungry for solutions, so that’s what I hope people learn from this,” he said. “It is transformative. That is what I expect “.

Simard said her book is a personal story of a decades-long journey that begins when she is a new hire at a BC Interior forestry company in the 1980s, carries over to her growing concerns as a government researcher on clear logging policies. and then to his determined quest as a college ecologist to prove that forests are communities and mother trees are their soul.

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“They’re really like societies,” Simard said. “They have these deep relationships with each other, the trees, and with all the other creatures in the forest. It’s like this great interrelated community and there are all kinds of sophisticated ways that they communicate and interact with each other. “

She said her work was often rejected by others who viewed forests as more competitive than cooperative settings.

But Simard said he was not discouraged. Working in the Douglas fir forests near Kamloops, BC, he was able to produce a map showing that trees are connected through underground fungal root systems that allow trees to share carbon, water, and other nutrients.

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Trees can also transmit information about potential disease and pest threats to other trees through this network, he said.

“What we found by connecting this map is that almost all the trees were connected to each other,” Simard said. “They had multiple links to each other and what came out of the map is that the oldest and largest trees were the ones that were most connected.

“That’s why we started calling it a mother tree, because all this convergence of information led us to realize that these old trees were really essential,” he said. “They are like the nucleus of the forest in the regeneration of the forest.”

Simard leads UBC’s Mother Tree Project, established in 2015 to explore how tree connections and communication can influence forest recovery and better understand the impact of climate change on forests.

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He said he has been consulting with major British Columbia forestry companies on initiatives designed to set aside more tracts of primary forest in areas scheduled for harvest to preserve more mother trees and biodiversity.

His determined pursuit of his research in the face of criticism from his peers earned him praise earlier this year from an unlikely source during an episode of the award-winning TV show “Ted Lasso.”

“You know we used to believe that trees were competing with each other for light,” said a “Ted Lasso” character during a scene about an unannounced job that finally paid off. “Suzanne Simard’s fieldwork challenged that perception, and now we realize that the forest is a socialist community. The trees work in harmony to share the sunlight. “

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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