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Suzanne Simard

Leader of The Mother Tree Project and Professor of Forest Ecology

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  • About Suzanne Simard

    Suzanne Simard is the world’s leading forest ecologist. A Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia, she currently leads The Mother Tree Project, a field-based research project dedicated to investigating forest renewal practices that will protect biodiversity, carbon storage and forest regeneration as the climate changes. She has presented her work on three TED talks and several other TED Experiences, garnering over 10 million views worldwide. In her talks on the importance of caring for the natural world, Dr. Simard explains how trees communicate with each other, the necessity of protecting our forests against climate disaster, and what we can do as individuals and organizations to preserve our planet’s most crucial forms of life.

    Dr. Simard’s book, Finding the Mother Tree (May 2021), brings us into the intimate world of trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates incredible truths—revealing that trees and forests are complicated, social, interdependent creatures connected through underground networks that communicate strength and vulnerabilities. She shows just how fascinating trees are, in the ways they learn and adapt their behaviors, remember the past, have agency about the future, and even compete and cooperate with a sophistication typically ascribed to humans. Dr. Simard demonstrates to readers and live audiences alike why her research on these vital networks of biodiversity is a cornerstone in understanding our relationship with the natural world and how these bonds enable our survival.

    Dr. Simard’s work has been published widely, with over 170 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Ecology, and Global Biology, and she is the co-author of the book Climate Change and Variability. Her research has been communicated broadly through TED Talks and TED Experiences, as well as articles and interviews in The New Yorker, National Geographic, The Globe and MailNPRCNNCBC, and many more.

  • Speaking Topics

    Finding the Mother Tree

    Suzanne Simard is changing how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest. In this illuminating and accessible talk, Simard helps audiences understand just how vital trees are—to each other and to humans. Based on her incredible book and her research at The Mother Tree Project, Simard shares her moving and deeply personal journey of discovering the interconnectedness of trees, explaining how they behave in many ways with characteristics ascribed to human intelligence and civil societies. In understanding these complex ecosystems, Simard emphasizes the critical need to rethink our relationship with our natural world so we can begin to heal our climate.

    Changing Our Future with Women in STEM

    Suzanne Simard’s journey to becoming the world’s leading forest ecologist included many ups and down. Her passion for science started early, when she was raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, with days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest. After embarking on a journey of discovery and struggle to become a lead researcher and advocate for our natural world, Simard hopes for other women to follow in her footsteps. With deep passion, she speaks to women and girls everywhere about the great rewards of a career in STEM industries. Simard encourages women to be actively curious about science, positing that scientific inquiry can exist beyond data and technology, and that STEM careers have the remarkable ability to can help us understand who we are and our place in the world.

    Lessons of Environmental Cooperation for the Workplace

    Suzanne Simard posits that, “In ecosystems, there is no bigotry. There is only reciprocity, only mutual respect.” Through her experience studying trees and understanding their behaviors, she argues that we have much to learn from the ways natural life interacts and coexists. In a lecture aimed toward corporate audiences, Simard draws powerful connections between the coordination and competition present in natural ecosystems and the ways we cooperate and compete at work. She helps organizations come to a better understanding of what it means to foster a network of trust, collaboration, and engagement, to the mutual benefit of members across the entire organization.

  • Video

  • Praise for Suzanne Simard

    Praise for Finding the Mother Tree

    For anyone who simply enjoys a walk in the woods and wonders what makes the forest work.

    Thomas R. Horton, professor of mycology, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, State University of New York, Syracuse

    The interplay of personal narrative, scientific insights, and the amazing revelations about the life of the forest make a compelling story. These are stories that the world needs to hear.

    Robin Wall Kimmerer, professor of environmental and forest biology, State University of New York

    Suzanne Simard’s research into the secret, communicative life of North American forests is utterly compelling.

    Charlotte Gill, professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia

    It completely overturned my view of nature.

    Kristin Ohlson, New York Times bestselling author

    I can think of no one better suited to bring humanity into the process of science.

    J. C. Cahill, professor of plant ecology at the University of Alberta

    What Simard is revealing here has implications and potential on the scale of mapping the human genome. Simard is one of this planet’s most insightful and eloquent translators.

    John Vaillant, bestselling author of The Tiger, Jaguar’s Children, and The Golden Spruce

    The stories Simard tells, and the insights she draws from them, will inspire readers and change the way they think about the world around them.

    Catherine Gehring, professor of biology at Northern Arizona University

    This book will have profound implications for our human relationships with the natural world. The insights presented by Dr. Simard point toward a complete paradigm shift in the ways we humans interact with forests, trees, and other species.

    Nancy Jean Turner, professor of ethnobotany at the University of Victoria, author of The Earth’s Blanket
  • Books by Suzanne Simard

  • Media About Suzanne Simard

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Suzanne Simard travels from British Columbia, Canada

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