Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Written by:
Suzanne Simard
Narrated by:
Suzanne Simard

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2021
12 hours 13 minutes
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest—a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery

“Finding the Mother Tree reminds us that the world is a web of stories, connecting us to one another. [The book] carries the stories of trees, fungi, soil and bears--and of a human being listening in on the conversation. The interplay of personal narrative, scientific insights and the amazing revelations about the life of the forest make a compelling story.”—Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.

In this, her first book, now available in paperback, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths--that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Simard writes--in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways—how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies--and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

And Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world.
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Really cool listen about how the forest is connected. Susan put decades of hard work in to proving that the forest shares just about everything, and needs a diversity of native plants to operate at maximum health.

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I heard Suzanne interviewed when this book came out. I was so pleased that she narrates this book. I cried when I finished and I have since read everything I can on the Mother Tree Project. Thank you Suzanne for your commitment to our forests and ultimately our planet.

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Finally proving with science what all of our ancestors knew. She should go down in history as one of the people that completely changes the way modern society looks at the forest ecosystem and with trees in general. It gets a little repetitive but wonderfully descriptive details about the amazing world within the forest.

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Jeffrey B.

This has changed my relationship to the natural world.

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Daryl O.

The author has made a wonderful contribution to not only science, but to our cultural ethos. Her research has provided evidence that cooperation—and not just competition (as we are educated to believe)—is an essential part of healthy ecosystem function and evolution. The philosophical implications of this are enormous. She demonstrates why feminine intelligence is essential for humaity’s accurate understanding of our world.

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Beautiful story of embracing and increasing knowledge on the mystery of life, it's interconnectedness and relationships, akin to it all. Thoroughly enjoyed!

This is an important and seminal work, but I found it mostly tedious as an audiobook. I was glad to hear the book in the author's own voice, but she is a much better scientist than she is a narrator (indeed, she often says that she was never a good public speaker). This book is mostly a memoir, and I found that I was less interested in her life story than I was in the science. Yet because the science is complicated, much of what she tells us is difficult to comprehend when heard rather than read, and she necessarily uses scientific terms which are not defined for the listener. Her narration often misplaces the emphasis in a sentence, so it has to be re-played multiple times to make any sense, even though her Canadian accent ensures that her diction is clear. Despite all these drawbacks, I found her story compelling.

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Anton F.

This book is so important. One of the best books I’ve read. Thank you so much for your research, and for sharing your story in such a compelling way.

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The book is 3/4 an autobiography. It's not a bad thing... The book details Simard's life from her start in the Forestry industry, through school, her research leading to essentially finding the "Mother Trees", her relationships (friends, co-workers, lovers, children, etc.), her health, and her life during all of this. I think I was expecting something different: more science and discoveries based. I had, prior to reading this book, done a lot of reading on the forest, plants, and fungi. I already understood the role of mycorrizae. For those reasons, perhaps that is why this book wasn't what I expected. If you would like more description into what Simard proved through her research, in conjunction with other prominent research/discoveries in forest ecology, I would recommend the book, The Hidden Life of Trees (Peter Wohlleben). "The Nature of Things" show (can find free on YouTube) with David Suzuki also covers Simard's, and others, contributions to science. Finding The Mother Tree was still a good read, just not my favorite for the reasons above.

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