Do trees communicate via a ‘wood wide web’? The evidence is lacking

A review of studies on mycorrhizal fungi finds there is insufficient evidence for the popular idea that trees communicate and share resources via these underground networks


13 February 2023

Some forest mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi that grow underground and have mutually beneficial relationships with tree roots

BIOSPHOTO / Alamy Stock Photo

The idea that trees communicate and share resources with each other via an underground network of fungi, sometimes called the “wood wide web”, has little evidence to back it up, say researchers who have reviewed the science.

Mycorrhizal fungi live on plants’ roots. They are thought to be beneficial to trees and to grow into vast networks beneath the forest floor.  In recent years, books and documentaries have popularised the idea …


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