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Standing up for each other in the forest

For humans, trees are static, they are not thought to have „social togetherness“.

To everyone‘s astonishment, however, trees are also „social“ beings and take care of each other. As research projects have shown, beech trees, for example, synchronise their photosynthesis performance to a similar level via mycorrhiza connections. In the process, site disadvantages of individual individuals are compensated for so that all beech trees in the „connected community“ can enjoy a comparable supply. A fantastic phenomenon, since this presupposes that information about weaknesses, strengths, supply bottlenecks and the like is also exchanged in advance via the mycorrhiza and is constantly updated. Similar information is probably also transmitted when a tree becomes old or diseased or even threat- ens to die. It is not uncommon to be amazed by seemingly dead trees that sprout new shoots again or still surprise with fresh leaves with „seemingly“ last strength. Here, the „healthy“ colleagues take over the supply of nutrients and water with the help of the mycorrhiza fungi and keep the „dead“ trees alive as long as possible. Because every dead tree that falls tears gaps in the leaf canopy. Sun, rain and wind can attack there more easily and cause damage. To prevent this, trees try to feed their fellow species as long as possible and keep the leaf canopy closed.

But trees do not only communicate via fungi and form their intensive, woodwide web. Trees also send signals via scents, electrical stimuli or toxins. For example, as soon as caterpillars attack and eat the leaves of a tree, the tissue of the leaves changes, electrical signals run into the tree, which immediately changes the chemical composition of the leaves and makes them inedible for the predators. At the same time, the surrounding trees are alerted that danger is imminent, for example, by emitting gases. Thanks to this advance warning, surrounding trees can already change the chemistry of their leaves before the impending pest infestation so that they become inedible for predators. Trees also attract pollinating insects through the colour of their flowers and their sweet scents, thus ensuring their reproduction.

SIGNATURE by Dianium Residence


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EDITION 3 - 2022

Read now the fifth issue of SIGNATURE by Dianium Residence magazine.



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