Although many of us are aware of the fact that different types of communication occur in the natural world between elements which are nonhuman, the concept of mycelia (fungi’s main body) acting as a kind of planetary Internet happens to be something new out there.
Natural Internet of the tree
It was suggested by Paul Stamets that mycelia happen to be the natural Internet of our planet, and lots of research has been done to bear out this concept. Nevertheless, the majority of individuals have the propensity of ignoring the micro, unlike the macro. Moreover, in terms of natural resources and conservation, our systems might be a victim of the enticement of reductionist philosophy considering the fact that a tree is only a commodity in the forest and it can simply be replaced by the plantation of another tree.
As a matter of fact, various reforestation attempts can be seen as successful in locations where cutting down trees has left vast tracts of forests treeless, even though replanted trees effectively transform a once diverse woodland into a monocropped “ranch” of trees. In 2016, at the TEDSummit, Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist asserted that a forest is only an assortment of trees which can be considered to be totally autonomous objects which are standing by themselves in spite of being surrounded by other vegetation and trees. She further adds that a forest implies much more than what we’re seeing at present.
Simard likewise states that we all favor our own kids, and she wondered whether it was possible for Douglas fir to identify its own kin. Consequently, they made an experiment by growing mother trees along with kin as well as seedlings of strangers. And it was found that they were able to identify their kin. In fact, mother trees are capable of colonizing their kin with larger mycorrhizal networks.
More carbon is sent by them underneath the ground. They also minimize the competition of their own roots for making space for their children. While they happen to be injured or are going to meet their demise, mother trees likewise dispatch messages of advice to the subsequent seedling generation. Consequently, the researchers have made use of isotope tracing for monitoring the movement of carbon as well as defense signals down the trunk of a mother tree who is injured into her surrounding seedlings. Therefore, it can be rightly asserted that trees do talk.
The fungi aspect
Fungi happen to be amongst the most important elements of life on our planet in spite of being amongst the least comprehended. This is true when it comes to the sheer amount of varieties as well as their interactions with the remaining systems on Earth. It has been found by the author of this article that approximately 15 million species exist on our planet and around 6 million of those species might be fungi.
However, only approximately 1.5% of them have been categorized until now. This implies that the study of mycology happens to be one of those areas which are competitively untapped even now. We are beginning to educate ourselves on fungal networks as well as mycelial “internets” which can help us to build a more sustainable planet in the long run.