Suzanne Simard

A professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia's Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences in Vancouver, Suzanne Simard studies the surprising and delicate complexity in nature. Her main focus is on the below-ground fungal networks that connect trees and facilitate underground inter-tree communication and interaction. Her team's analysis revealed that the fungi networks move water, carbon and nutrients such as nitrogen between and among trees as well as across species. The research has demonstrated that these complex, symbiotic networks in our forests -- at the hub of which stand what she calls the "mother trees" -- mimic our own neural and social networks. This groundbreaking work on symbiotic plant communication has far-reaching implications in both the forestry and agricultural industries, in particular concerning sustainable stewardship of forests and the plant’s resistance to pathogens. She works primarily in forests, but also grasslands, wetlands, tundra and alpine ecosystems.

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Latest work with IntechOpen by Suzanne Simard

Climate change is emerging as one of the most important issues of our time, with the potential to cause profound cascading effects on ecosystems and society. However, these effects are poorly understood and our projections for climate change trends and effects have thus far proven to be inaccurate. In this collection of 24 chapters, we present a cross-section of some of the most challenging issues related to oceans, lakes, forests, and agricultural systems under a changing climate. The authors present evidence for changes and variability in climatic and atmospheric conditions, investigate some the impacts that climate change is having on the Earth's ecological and social systems, and provide novel ideas, advances and applications for mitigation and adaptation of our socio-ecological systems to climate change. Difficult questions are asked. What have been some of the impacts of climate change on our natural and managed ecosystems? How do we manage for resilient socio-ecological systems? How do we predict the future? What are relevant climatic change and management scenarios? How can we shape management regimes to increase our adaptive capacity to climate change? These themes are visited across broad spatial and temporal scales, touch on important and relevant ecological patterns and processes, and represent broad geographic regions, from the tropics, to temperate and boreal regions, to the Arctic.

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