Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Wood Wide Web

Last night I was reading about the Wood Wide Web, an underground network created by fungi to transfer nutrients, minerals, water and even information among and between species. The diagram below is an illustration of this from Wikipedia.

I could not find a map showing the tree locations in that study but I did find this one from another study. The map shows a 30 cm square plot of Douglas firs. Any resemblance to Washington D.C. is purely coincidental.

This Douglas firs in green have arrows connecting their root systems to the sample locations represented by the black dots. The blue and pink shaded areas represent the fiber networks of two different species of fungus. The oldest trees have the most connections. The tree pointed out with an arrow is the oldest in the stand (94 years old at the time of this study) and has the most connections. 

This diagram shows the same stand with the firs colored by age, the youngest ones are yellow and the oldest dark green. The circles are sized by diameter and the thickness of the lines indicates the degree of connection. The forest is a connected network and removing older trees can have a huge impact on its resilience. More information on this study is here and for an interesting look at these networks see this article in Science Focus.

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Show your love for your favorite area with a handmade wooden outline map. Or the maps illustrate the depth and detail of your favorite destination.