Underland - Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Robert Macfarlane
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Summary

Chapter 4, “The Understorey, (Epping Forest, London),” takes up with the wood wide web, or the parts of the forest that are integral to its survival but largely unseen by humans including fungi, soil and underground root systems of trees and other plants. MacFarlane starts the chapter by writing he heard about the wood wide web from a dying friend who explained that healthy trees sometimes nurse sick trees through conjoined roots in the soil. Then MacFarlane gives a brief recent history of forest ecology studies, focusing on Suzanne Simard, the famous Canadian ecologist who claimed the model of competition to explain forest life was not accurate and, instead, forests functioned through intricate systems of mutualism and collaboration. Simard found an “underground social network” (89) made up of fungal species that linked trees together. “The fungi and the trees have ‘forged their duality into a oneness...

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This section contains 1,670 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Underland Study Guide
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