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  • I was walking my mountain the other day,

  • and I was feeling really at home with the forest.

  • And I was so grateful to it

  • for showing me that forests are built on relationships

  • which form networks,

  • like these beautiful river networks.

  • And I thought,

  • "Wow, forests are just like human families."

  • And I was so taken by the beauty of this idea

  • that I fell and I crashed down on the ground,

  • and I hit my head on this new stump.

  • And I was so angry!

  • Then, I was so heartbroken

  • because there was a whole family of trees cut down.

  • Thing is, where I'm from in Western Canada,

  • there's clearcuts like this hidden everywhere,

  • and it wasn't until Google Earth starting sending images,

  • like this,

  • that we realized the whole world

  • was wiping its noses on our old-growth forests.

  • Did you know

  • that deforestation like this around the world

  • causes more greenhouse gas emissions

  • than all the trains, planes and automobiles combined?

  • Yeah, I'm really upset about this,

  • but I'm also really hopeful

  • because I've also discovered in my research

  • that forest networks are organized

  • in the same way as our own neural networks

  • and our social networks.

  • And I believe that if we can learn to integrate these into a whole

  • that we can change this dangerous pathway of global warming

  • because I believe we are wired for healing.

  • So, here's the science:

  • The most ancient of these networks

  • is this below-ground fungal network, or mushroom network.

  • And it evolved over a billion years ago

  • to allow organisms to migrate from the ocean onto the land.

  • And eventually, they got together with plants

  • in this symbiosis.

  • And this allowed plants to photosynthesize,

  • pulling CO2, which is our biggest greenhouse gas,

  • out of the atmosphere and giving off oxygen,

  • which allows us to breathe

  • and actually allowed humans to eventually evolve.

  • Now, we call this symbiosis a mycorrhiza,

  • myco for fungus, rrhiza for root.

  • So, the fungus and root get together,

  • and they trade for mutual benefit.

  • Now, all trees in all forests all over the world

  • depend on these mycorrhizas for their very survival.

  • They can't live without them.

  • And the way it works

  • is that a seed falls on the forest floor,

  • it germinates,

  • it sends a root down into the soil,

  • and it starts sending out chemical signals

  • to the fungi to grow towards the root.

  • And the fungus communicates back

  • with its own signals,

  • and it says to the root,

  • 'You need to grow towards me and branch and soften.'

  • And so by this communication,

  • they grow together into this magical symbiosis.

  • And the way that symbiosis works

  • is the plant takes its hard-earned carbon from photosynthesis

  • and brings it to the fungus

  • because the fungus can't photosynthesize.

  • And the fungus takes nutrients and water it gathers from the soil,

  • where plant roots can't grow,

  • and they give it to the plant.

  • And so they're both benefiting in this cooperation.

  • Now, as the fungus grows through the soil,

  • it starts linking plant and plant

  • and tree and tree together

  • until the whole forest is linked together.

  • Did you know that a single tree

  • can be literally linked up to hundreds of other trees

  • as far as the eye can see?

  • And as you're walking through the forest,

  • what you see, the trees, the roots, the mushrooms,

  • are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Under a single footstep,

  • there are 300 miles of fungal cells

  • stacked end on end moving stuff around.

  • And if you could look down into the ground,

  • it would be like this super highway

  • with cars going everywhere.

  • Now, all networks are made of nodes and links.

  • In forests, those nodes would be trees

  • and the links fungi.

  • It's kind of like in your Facebook network,

  • where nodes would be friends

  • and links would be your friendships.

  • Now, we all know that some of those nodes,

  • or friends,

  • are busier than others,

  • like that friend who is always sending out group messages.

  • Well, it's the same in forests,

  • and these nodes in forests,

  • we call them hubs,

  • they're the big trees in the forests

  • with roots going everywhere.

  • Now, we also have learned

  • that the systems organized around these hubs,

  • these big old trees,

  • so in forests, that's where the regeneration occurs.

  • In your Facebook network,

  • that might be how parties are organized,

  • around that hub that's always sending out the group messages.

  • We call those hubs in forests mother trees;

  • they're the big old trees in the forest.

  • And they fix the carbon in their leaves,

  • and they send it down through their massive trunks

  • and into the networks all around them

  • that are linked up to all the other trees

  • and seedlings, the young ones,

  • and they start sending that carbon everywhere.

  • The more those seedlings are stressed out,

  • maybe from drought or shade,

  • the more the mother tree sends to them.

  • It's kind of like in your families,

  • where if you're kind of stressed out,

  • mom and dad kick in and help you out a bit more, right?

  • Well, it's the same in forests.

  • The other thing that we've recently discovered

  • is that mother trees will preferentially send

  • more signals to her own kids, her own children.

  • And then, this way she helps them do better,

  • and then they survive more,

  • and then they can pass their genes on to future generations.

  • So, how natural selection works.

  • Now, the way these forests are organized

  • makes them both resilient and vulnerable.

  • They're resilient because there's many mother trees,

  • and there's many fungal species linking them together.

  • And that network is really hard to break.

  • It's pretty darn tough.

  • But of course,

  • we humans have figured out how to do that.

  • And what we do is we take out the mother trees.

  • And maybe taking one out won't make much difference

  • but when you take more and more and more

  • and clearcut and more and more and more

  • that it can cause the system to collapse and fall down,

  • like dominoes.

  • And we can cross tipping points

  • and cause more forest death and more global warming,

  • and we're doing that.

  • So what we do,

  • our choices we make,

  • can lead us towards global heatlh or global sickness.

  • We do have choices.

  • And I'm going to leave you with four ideas

  • that I think are worth spreading.

  • First one:

  • To love the forest

  • you have to go spend time in it.

  • Go be in the forest, connect with it.

  • And then you'll fight hard enough to protect them.

  • Second:

  • Learn how they work.

  • Learn how those networks link things together

  • in organized forests.

  • And to do that,

  • you gotta go out there take risks, make mistakes.

  • Third:

  • Protect forests.

  • They need you to do that

  • because they can't do it themselves.

  • They're stuck in one spot.

  • They can't run away from humans,

  • and they can't run away from global warming.

  • They need you.

  • And finally,

  • and most importantly,

  • use your own very clever, brilliant,

  • neural and social networks to create amazing messages,

  • and spread the word that forests are worth saving

  • because you're worth saving,

  • and I believe that together

  • we're all wired for healing.

I was walking my mountain the other day,

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TED-ED】森のネットワーク美 - スザンヌ・シマード (【TED-Ed】The networked beauty of forests - Suzanne Simard)

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    Halu Hsieh に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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