By Amy Lydan
Book Review on
The Hidden Life of Trees
By
Peter Wohlleben

I have always found that walking in the woods offers an expanded and reflective perspective. Whenever I return to the forest, I always remember why I am there. 

While working at the circulation desk, I encountered Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. I was intrigued and set it aside to contemplate taking it home. After several hours I decided against it, as I already had a stack of unread books at home. I put the book in a bin to return and then, just a short time later I ran across another copy. I checked that one out immediately.  

As a forester, Peter Wohlleben has spent a considerable amount of time in the forest. Through observation, study, and a sense of wonder he has gained insight into a world and ecosystem that we tend to overlook as we live alongside it.

This book blends research and scientific findings with Wohlleben’s own insights. He takes a perspective which ascribes a level of sentience to trees, which, while very different from our own, also shares some striking similarities. The level of communication and interconnection that happens in a forest is truly remarkable. He describes the slow tempo of life in the forest in a way that reminds us to step back and appreciate what can be learned from it.  

Reading this book has enhanced my awareness and renewed the sense of awe and curiosity that I experience upon entering the forest. I am reminded to pause and reflect, to stop and take notice of the world around me on a regular basis.  

There is a great deal to learn in this book. It is written for lay people in a conversational tone that is easy to follow. I would recommend it for anyone who wishes to develop a finer understanding and appreciation of the natural world. 

The GCPL EBSCOhost database contains several articles which provide more information about this field and some of the studies the book references:

“The Whispering of the Trees”Smithsonian 

“Ploughing Up the Wood-Wide Web?”Nature Publishing Group

Amy Lydan is Head of Circulation at our Bainbridge Branch.