The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben


The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel,
How They Communicate-
Discoveries from a Secret World

by Peter Wohlleben
Greystone Books, Canada, 13 Sept. 2016

The author

Peter Wohlleben is a forester born in Bonn, Germany. First of all, he worked about twenty years for the forest administration to exploit the forests. As he made new discoveries and observations, his vision and perception of trees became different, his love for nature got revived. So, he decided to change his methods for an ecological, natural and respectful approach, arguing:

“A healthy forest, even, dare we say, a happy forest is clearly more productive,
thus more profitable.”

Each year, he organises instructive walks in the forest.
On August 7th, 2017, a  two- hour hike (in English) is planned with Peter Wohlleben,
in his forest of the village of Hümmel. If you are interested, you can book here.

Peter Wohlleben also published in June, 2016Das Seelenleben der Tiere,
in English The Inner Life of Animals,
whose publication date is set on October 19th, 2017.

The story

As someone who likes trees and forests, I have been immediately and irresistibly attracted by this book. I couldn’t not read it. You will devour it as a novel in which heroes are trees.

You will discover how trees live in community and are in solidarity. Because, indeed, in a forest, there are rules of good behavior which allow trees to avoid numerous problems. Grown under identical conditions, they don’t react all the same, each tree has its own methods, with its own personality. They can learn, join with mushrooms, but not anyhow, each species of tree being bound with a species of mushroom which is suited to their needs.

This walk in the forest will reveal you how trees communicate, what is their language and their social behavior.
The Hidden Life of Trees became a best-seller in Germany, where it was published in 2015.

My opinion

Peter Wohlleben makes us discover an unknown and wonderful world, as Commandant Jacques-Yves Cousteau did it with the sea and life in water. The author makes us aware of the absolute necessity to protect our forests, to respect trees, as well as all plants and animals. They are a part of the magnificent balance of life and abundance. Upsetting the balance of nature leads to death.

It makes me think of an immense orchestra playing the most wonderful music, where each instrument, even the smallest, plays its role, totally essential to create a perfect harmony and a complete stability. Each of them needs the other, as we all need each other, human beings, animals and plants (see the post “We Need Animals”).

I have loved this book a lot. I found it instructive and fascinating. It is a very inspiring book that invites us to stroll among these marvels of the nature, and opens our eyes to the flora and fauna, our friends, our allies. The style is at the same time poetic, scientific and pleasant to read.

I highly recommend this book, it’s a must read!


Joyce Kilmer wrote a very beautiful poem on trees, here is the beginning:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

(read more here)

la vie secrète des arbres-hêtre

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