The Woodwide Web of trees
In reference to the internet, these structures are also called the „Woodwide Web“ and the comparison is not at all misleading.
The „hardware and software“ for this is supplied, among other things, by fungi, which form an infinite network of fungal threads, so-called hyphae, and communicate closely with the trees. To the benefit of both sides: Trees produce carbohydrates in the form of sugar via their photosynthesis. Fungi cannot produce such sugars and are provided with them by the trees. In return, the fungi provide the trees with nutrients such as phosphates or nitrogen and water, because via their finest stolons they multiply the area in the soil that can absorb nutrients and water, so that a well-maintained fungal community also means an excellent supply for the tree. A symbiosis that is unique and is called mycorrhiza. Mycorrhiza means „fungal root“ and in Europe alone this includes over 1000 species of fungi. Even truffles or fly agarics are among the mycorrhizal fungi.
With their ultra-fine mushroom threads, the mushrooms span the roots of the trees and draw square kilometre-sized nets through the forest floor. Incredible: in one teaspoon of forest soil alone there are more than one (!) kilometre of fungal threads. This dense network, which can be seen in the humus as white threads, not only serves the mutual supply of fungus and tree. Rather, it takes on a multitude of communication tasks. Trees contact each other via the hyphae and, for example, warn each other of predators or during periods of drought. This applies to trees of the same species, but scientists suspect that different tree species can also communicate with each other in this way.
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