Lessons from the Underground
We humans tend to look mostly around, sometimes up, and occasionally down, but even then, only at the surface of things. It turns out, however, that all of life on Earth actually depends on the extraordinarily dynamic life hidden beneath our feet, in the incredibly complex interrelationships of plants, bacteria, fungi, insects and minerals that make our continued existence above ground possible. In this session three of the world’s leading specialists on different aspects of those underground ecosystems share their cutting-edge research.
With: Suzanne Simard, Ph.D., Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia, one of the planet’s leading experts on the synergies and complexities of forests, and a highly influential, world-renowned pathfinder on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence, and author of the current best-selling Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest; Anne Biklé and David R. Montgomery, a wife and husband team of scientific researchers whose groundbreaking work on the microbial life of soil has revealed its crucial importance to human wellbeing and survival. Dave, a professor of Geomorphology, is the author of the seminal Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, and Anne, a biologist and science communicator, co-authored The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health. Their latest collaboration, What Your Food Ate, to be published spring 2022, tells the sobering and inspiring story of how agriculture can help restore health to the land—and ourselves. Moderated by Bioneers’ Restorative Food Systems Director Arty Mangan.
This discussion took place at the 2021 Bioneers Conference.
Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia, one of the planet’s leading experts on the synergies and complexities of forests and the development of sustainable forest stewardship practices, Suzanne Simard is a world-renowned pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence whose work has influenced several major filmmakers and novelists. She is the author of the currently best-selling Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest.
Anne Biklé is a biologist, avid gardener, and co-author, along with her husband, David Montgomery, of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health. Biklé is among the planet’s leading experts on the microbial life of soil and its crucial importance to human wellbeing and survival.
David R. Montgomery
David Montgomery is a professor of Geomorphology and, along with his wife and collaborator Anne Biklé, co-author of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health a landmark exploration the microbiome. Montgomery’s research looks at the process shaping Earth’s surface and how they affect ecological systems—and human societies. He has studied everything from the ways that landslides and glaciers influence the height of mountain ranges, to the way that soils have shaped human civilizations both now and in the past. He is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and has received many awards throughout his career, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the Vega Medal. In addition to The Hidden Half of Nature, Montgomery is the author of the seminal Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations and Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back To Life.
Arty Mangan, Bioneers’ Restorative Food Systems Director, joined Bioneers in 1998 as Project Manager for the Restorative Development Initiative. A former board president of the Ecological Farming Association and member of the Santa Cruz GE Subcommittee that banned GE crops, Arty has worked with farmers and agriculture since 1978, first as a partner in Live Juice and later with Odwalla, where he was in charge of fruit sourcing.