The Hidden Life of Trees

Reading The Hidden Life of Trees will show you just how vital undisturbed forests and woodlands are to the future of our planet and how our appreciation for trees affects the way we interact with the world around us. The book will unlock a wonderland. Of magic, and a deeper understanding of the wonders of nature, fungi and trees.

We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, which is easy to forget while we are in a pandemic. Life on Earth is in crisis: scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.

At the same time, we are destroying our most valuable masterpieces, our ancient forests. The Amazon is the world’s largest terrestrial carbon sink and plays a critical role in regulating the global climate. Yet this global treasure is at great risk – already more than 20% has been deforested. Just from a carbon gain perspective, this is appalling.

The Amazon Rainforest Burning

Home to 390 billion trees, the vast river basin reigns over South America and is an unrivalled nest of biodiversity. We are slash and burning the forests to plant soy, to feed cattle. The impact on the indigenous people is especially tragic. 

 The human body cannot live without lungs. The Amazon Rainforest has been likened to the lungs of the planet —a testament to the importance of this forest for the world. 

Trees, live at a different pace than what we do. One of the oldest trees on Earth, a spruce in Sweden, is more than 9,500 years old. That’s 115 times longer than the average human lifetime. But when you consider that the Amazon is 10 million years old. How could we expect to regrow our rainforests? And  after you read Peter Wohlleben book you will understand that we can’t just  replant them. 

WE READ IN fairy tales of trees with human faces, trees that can talk, and sometimes walk. This enchanted forest is the kind of place, I feel sure, that Peter Wohlleben inhabits. His deep understanding of the lives of trees, reached through decades of careful observation and study, reveals a world so astonishing that if you read his book, I believe that forests will become magical places for you, too.


The potential of undiscovered medicines and biodiversity loss, is incalculable. When it’s gone, it’s gone. 10 million years of natural creativity and artistry, up in smoke. For ‘cheap’ beef.

Some are trying to save our rain forests. Organisations like Amazon Watch.

Swedish millionaire Johan Eliasch purchased 400,000 acres of the Amazon Rainforest from a logging company for $14,000,000 for the sole purpose of its preservation.

Amazon, the company, was founded 27 years ago. The founder Jeff Bezos is the richest guy on the planet. Instead of launching phallic shaped rockets, he could purchase the rest of the Rainforest for its preservation too. After all he did take the name. With $210 billion dollars he could buy 9,388,392 square miles at that rate. The Amazon is 2,300,000 square miles, so he would have plenty left over to spend on penis extensions, I mean space exploration. Surely nothing can be more precious than our ancient forests?

The Tree of Awakening

I have had an interest in Buddhism for a number of years now. And I don’t think that it was a coincidence that the Buddha gained enlightenment, by meditating under a tree. How much did the Bodhi tree, “tree of awakening”, contribute to his nirvana 2500 years ago? In my Buddhist studies I have done, I don’t think enough emphasis is put on this fact.

In Tai Chi and Chi Kung there is a posture called “Standing like a tree” too, which is meant to bring great benefits. As is to practice under trees. What energy do we receive from these trees?

Guitars and other fine instruments, are crafted from timber. And wood has been used to cook and keep us warm since about 1.5 million years ago in Africa, when you learnt how to ignite it. And books made from them have been used to spark ideas and knowledge. Plus craft tools, buildings and ships. 

The Hidden Life of Trees

When you read Peter Wohlleben’s book, The Hidden Life of Trees, you will discover so much more. I got emotional just reading the foreword.

Trees can sense approaching danger. They communicate with each other. They look after and feed each other. They are social beings. And one of the saddest things, you will learn, are solitary trees in urban developments. 

Opening this book, you are about to enter a wonderland. Enjoy it.


Peter is a woodsman. But he will tell you that wolves are better stewards of the land than people. Unlike man, they create conditions that allow the trees to grow and exert their influence on the landscape. You can’t beat nature.

WHEN I BEGAN my professional career as a forester, I knew about as much about the hidden life of trees as a butcher knows about the emotional life of animals. The modern forestry industry produces lumber. That is to say, it fells trees and then plants new seedlings. If you read the professional literature, you quickly get the impression that the well-being of the forest is only of interest insofar as it is necessary for optimizing the lumber industry. That is enough for what foresters do day to day, and eventually it distorts the way they look at trees. Because it was my job to look at hundreds of trees every day—spruce, beeches, oaks, and pines—to assess their suitability for the lumber mill and their market value, my appreciation of trees was also restricted to this narrow point of view.

Peter Wohlleben
The Hidden Life of Trees – Official Movie Trailer

He goes on to say:

In conversations with the many visitors who came, my view of the forest changed once again. Visitors were enchanted by crooked, gnarled trees I would previously have dismissed because of their low commercial value. Walking with my visitors, I learned to pay attention to more than just the quality of the trees’ trunks.

Peter Wohlleben

But what is most surprising to hear from a commercial forester is this:

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 large machines. Machines have been banned from the forest for a couple of decades now, and if a few individual trees need to be harvested from time to time, the work is done with care by foresters using horses instead. A healthier—perhaps you could even say happier—forest is considerably more productive, and that means it is also more profitable.

Peter Wohlleben

For the joy and love of trees

It is an enchanting delight to be walked through a forest of trees with Peter. The appreciation of such long lasting social, sensitive and caring organisms will give you a profound respect for nature and for her beautiful trees.

I invite you to share with me the joy trees can bring us. And, who knows, perhaps on your next walk in the forest, you will discover for yourself wonders great and small. It will also install in you a great appreciation of ancient woods, like our rainforests.

Categorized as Love

By Rich Senior

Meditator, Yogi, Tai Chi practitioner, Guitar player, Music maker, Writer and Web developer.

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