We are surrounded by talking forests. Within them, trees are involved in dramatic fights for survival as they rescue one another from danger, share vital nutrients and communicate. If you’ve seen our website and LinkedIn page, you may have noticed our heavy use of tree imagery. Today, we’d like to explain why.
Trees have a marvellous yet little known talent
Imagine a plague of insects ripping through the forest. Did you know the air is rife with trees calling for help? At first, we didn’t believe trees could talk either. It turns out that trees communicate and share resources to strengthen the entire forest. Carbon and essential nutrients are pumped across the forest network to support trees at risk of death. Young saplings also struggle to survive on their own when growing in dark areas of the forest. Older trees offer a lifeline by pumping sugar through their own roots into the youngs’.
Trees are not lonely. Underneath the soil there is noisy chatter and relationship developing. Trees of other species may negotiate alliances or form symbiotic relationships, and trees of the same species form communal bonds.
In times of danger trees emit distress signals across the entire forest so that other trees can prepare. This communication increases their chance of survival during times of disease, droughts and insect attacks and strengthens the entire forest.
What’s the science?
These fascinating insights are based on the ecologist Suzanne Simard’s 30 yearlong research project conducted in Canadian forests. Simard found that trees possess hair like roots which connect and form expansive fungal networks. These pathways form a communication channel and mechanism to exchange nutrients. ‘Hub trees’ act as mothers to encourage the sharing of resources when trees are in danger or young saplings need support, strengthening the entire forest. You can learn more on her TED Talk ‘How trees talk to each other’.
We were also intrigued by the research of German forester, Wohlleben, author of ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ as described in this article by Richard Grant. Wohlleben discusses how chemical and hormonal electrical signals which replicate animal nervous systems allow trees to talk. Trees also communicate through pheromones and other scents released in the air, such as when a giraffe is munching on tree leaves. These scents lead to other trees protecting themselves through pumping leaves with tannin, which can kill even large herbivores.
Like trees, we share
We were inspired by what goes on underneath forest soils. Through sharing knowledge and resources the entire forest is strengthened. This resonates with our core purpose of innovating governance, risk and compliance to benefit everyone. And we mean, everyone.
For our clients, our knowledge is our asset and we openly share it to make it our clients advantage. Trees are a true representation of ‘strength in numbers’ and demonstrate how an entire ecosystem can benefit from the sharing of resources. We are deliberate and relentless about bringing our real-life practitioner experience to everything we deliver for clients.
For our community, we know that, like trees, our existence is not lonely. We aim to do our part to protect, promote and progress those around us.
We decided that we wanted to have an impact from day one. So since the inception of PX Partners, 10% of profits are directed to charities and social enterprises which support and strengthen our community and environment. We prioritise working with First Nations suppliers, source in a way which minimises environmental impact and donate our knowledge and time pro bono to organisations who share our values.
Trees have reminded us that we are responsible for giving back to the world just as it gives to us. And the world gives a lot.
More information on our approach to corporate social responsibility is available in ‘PX for Good’.