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  • Writer's pictureTony Wootton

How trees deal with illness - About That Tree (March 2020)

Whenever there is a situation like Covid 19, I think to myself "What would a tree do?".

When a tree is faced with a serious infection it compartmentalises itself and walls off the affected section of itself with a chemical barrier.

If the infection or pathogen is particularly virulent and manages to breach the barrier, the tree sets up another barrier further out in a bid to further contain the pathogen, be it viral, bacterial or fungal.

If you think of humanity as an organism, it’s like Queensland walling off the border with NSW to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and then if the virus crosses the border, the next step would be to wall off Southern Queensland to protect Northern Queensland.

The other point is that when trees exist in a forest, they support each other through a fungal network known as the Soil Food Web.

They understand that if one tree dies, even a weak and ailing one, the integrity of the whole forest canopy is compromised.

In human terms we have to understand that each of us has a uniquely individual role to play in the rich fabric of our society, and that the healthy need to support the weak, for all our sakes.

The next time you look at a tree, consider these marvellous hidden processes, and you may just catch a glimpse of a deeper reality.

Maleny tree

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