NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest—a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she's been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron's Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.

Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths--that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Simard writes--in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways—how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies--and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them—embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey--of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.
INSTANT BESTSELLER

"Simard has spent decades with her hands in the soil, designing experiments and piecing together the remarkable mysteries of forest ecology . . . elegantly detailed . . . deeply personal . . . A testament to Simard’s skill as a science communicator. Her research is clearly defined, the steps of her experiments articulated, her astonishing results explained and the implications laid bare: We ignore the complexity of forests at our peril.”
The New York Times

“[Simard] shares the wisdom of a life of listening to the forest . . . a scientific memoir as gripping as any HBO drama series.”
The Observer

"A powerful and personal meditation on nature, science and our interconnection with each other and the world around us."
—Toronto Star

“Galvanizing . . . As Simard elucidates her revolutionary experiments, replete with
gorgeous descriptions and moments of fear and wonder, a vision of the forest as an ‘intelligent, perceptive and responsive,’ comes into focus . . . A masterwork of planetary significance.” 
Booklist (starred review)
 
“Simard artfully blends science with memoir in her eye-opening debut on the ‘startling secrets’ of trees . . . As moving as it is educational, this groundbreaking work entrances.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 

“Simard tells the fascinating story that led Richard Powers to base a character on her in his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Overstory . . . intimate . . . absorbing . . . engaging . . . the science is solid, and the author’s overarching theme of stewardship is clear, understandable, and necessary.”

Kirkus

“I can't think of a book on nature and science that I am more eagerly looking forward to reading. Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence, and this book promises to change our understanding about what is really going on when a tree falls in the forest, and other pressing mysteries about the natural world.”—Michael Pollan, New York Times bestselling author of eight books, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Botany of Desire

"Vivid and inspiring . . . For Simard, personal experience leads to revelation, and scientific revelation leads to personal insight . . . Finding the Mother Tree helps make sense of a forest of mysteries. It might even persuade you that organisms other than ourselves—even fungi—have agency.”
The Wall Street Journal

"In Finding the Mother Tree, Suzanne Simard demonstrates how storytelling can ignite something science alone cannot . . . therein lies the magic of this book. This is science in action, from beginning to end, and so much more than a study published in a journal . . . Finding the Mother Tree is the kind of story we need to be telling, a new way of communicating that the world desperately needs to hear. "
—The Guardian

"Vital for our times . . . With biodiversity on a knife edge, the need to appreciate and understand the complexity and brilliance of the natural world could not be more important."
—Financial Times

“[Finding the Mother Tree] excited us with a narrative about the awe-invoking power of nature and the compelling parallels in Suzanne’s personal life. It forever transformed our views of the world and the interconnectivity of our environment. Finding the Mother Tree is not only a deeply beautiful memoir about one woman’s impactful life, it’s also a call to action to protect, understand and connect with the natural world.”
—Amy Adams and Bond Group co-founder Stacy O’Neil

“In [Finding Mother Tree], [Simard] invites us into her world, which is the world of trees. What she has discovered there is revolutionary on both the scientific and the spiritual level. It is so extraordinary that it is, frankly, hard to believe—until you see the data, the science, the rigor, and the many independent affirmations of her findings. . . . The future of this planet depends on our ability to understand Nature and integrate what she is telling us; Simard is one of her most insightful and eloquent translators.”
—John Vaillant, bestselling author and winner of the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction (Canada) for The Golden Spruce, The Tiger, and Jaguar’s Children

“[Finding the Mother Tree] offers a chance for readers to get to know her more intimately—her insights, her humor, her struggles, her determination. It's an inspiring story of how a child in love with the woods became a world-renowned scientist discovering their secrets—and perhaps saving them in the process.”
Kristin Ohlson, New York Times  estselling author of six books, including The Soil Will Save Us, Stalking the Divine, Kabul Beauty School, and Life as We Know It
 
“Suzanne Simard's research into the secret, communicative life of North American forests is utterly compelling. No one knows trees, from canopy to root tips, quite like she does.”
—Charlotte Gill, winner of the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize for Eating Dirt and of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for Ladykiller
 
"the science is solid. . . clear, understandable, and necessary"
—Kirkus

“Suzanne Simard elegantly dispels the lingering myth that scientists are unfeeling robots, mindlessly reducing complexity into digestible units of information. She does this effectively by telling the stories of her life, and she shows us how personal experiences can drive discovery and understanding. As a highly respected scientist who has forever changed how people view forests, I can think of no one better suited to bring more humanity into the process of science.”
—JC Cahill, Professor of Plant Ecology at University of Alberta, and author of bestselling University ecology textbook Ecology: Concepts and Applications

“Every once in a while a scientist comes along who can convey complex, technical ideas in a way that is both dazzling and profound. Suzanne Simard is such a one. . . . It is she who came up with the phrase, Wood Wide Web. It introduces new notions of symbiosis and co-evolution, communication and kin, notions that upend our definition of sentience. . . . Finding the Mother Tree taps into [a large] audience, of people moved by the idea that other organisms besides us are conscious, that the planet is a connected ecosystem, that salvation can be found in nature.”
—Eugenia Bone, author of six books, including At Mesa’s Edge, Italian Family Dining, Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms, and Microbia: A Journey into the Unseen World Around You
 
“Dr. Suzanne Simard is a world-leading scientist who has developed a strong, well-recognized research program at UBC. In addition, one of her strengths is communicating her work to a broader audience. She is able to ‘escape from the ivory tower’ and share her passion and scientific results with the general public and laypersons. Her scientific work provides her a great story to share, and I believe the time is ripe for this story.
Klaus Puettmann, author of A Critique of Silviculture and Managing Forests as Complex Adaptive Systems
 
“In Finding the Mother Tree, pioneering researcher Suzanne Simard describes how her appreciation and understanding of forests developed. She vividly links her childhood experiences in the mountains of British Columbia, her early work in forest management, and her personal hardships to the scientific discoveries that have forever changed the way we view forests. The stories she tells, and the insights she draws from them, will inspire readers and change the way they think about the world around them.
—Catherine Gehring, Professor of Biology at Northern Arizona University
Author of Mycorrhizal Mediation of Soil–Fertility, Structure, and Carbon Storage
 
“Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree reminds us that the world is a web of stories, connecting us to one another. Her vivid manuscript carries the stories of trees, fungi, soil and bears—and of a human being listening in on the conversation. The interplay of personal narrative, scientific insights, and the amazing revelations about the life of the forest make a compelling story. . . . I have great admiration for her science and her storytelling alike. These are stories that the world needs to hear.”
—Robin Wall Kimmerer, Director of SUNY-ESF Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, and winner of both the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award for Braiding Sweetgrass and the John Burroughs Medal Award for Gathering Moss

“This book will have profound implications for our human relationships with the natural world. . . . [T]he insights presented by Dr. Simard point towards a complete paradigm shift in the ways we humans interact with forests, trees, and other species. . . . Finding the Mother Tree will be a celebration of this realization, and a key milestone in humanity’s journey towards reconciliation, with Indigenous Peoples and with Nature.”
—Nancy Jean Turner, Professor of Ethnobotany at the University of Victoria, author of four books including Earth’s Blanket, admitted to the Order of British Columbia and winner of Canadian Botanical Association Lawson Medal

“This is a great read. Dr. Simard opens up her heart and soul as she shares her scientific journey.. The book has elements of both E.O. Wilson’s Naturalist, covering his development as a scientist, and Wild by Cheryl Strayed, who pushed through personal issues and found answers in Nature. For anyone who simply enjoys a walk in the woods and wonders what makes the forest work.”
—Thomas R. Horton, Professor, Mycology State University of New York, Syracuse Dept. of Environmental and Forest Biology
 
“To read Finding the Mother Tree is to imagine the view from a 250-foot redwood. The recognition that we’re all connected is one of the great gifts of the memoir. From such a view, it’s possible to feel part of the whole—a feeling we’re only now starting to recognize as our natural state.”
Los Angeles Times

Finding the Mother Tree is a passionate and instructive ecological memoir with much good honest dirt under its fingernails. Simard can look at soil the way an art historian looks at an Old Master. . .”
Geographical (UK)

“Simard creates her own complex network in [Finding the Mother Tree], by weaving the story of [her] discoveries with vignettes from her past. . . . Moving through life’s highs and lows with her is rewarding because of these resonances, and because she comes across as the kind of person who usually doesn’t write memoirs—shy and occasionally fearful, always earnest. It feels like a privilege to be let into her life.”
Nature magazine

“In Finding the Mother Tree, science and personal experience are inextricably linked, as densely interwoven as the underground networks that knit forests together—all of it rendered in elegant and thoughtful prose. Simard’s book is as sturdy, impressive and beautiful as a big red cedar.”
The Tyee