“The Hidden Life of Trees, What They Feel, How They Communicate”, by Peter Wohlleben, explains why forests matter on a global scale and we learn that “that when trees unite to create a fully functioning forest that the whole is greater than its parts.”
Sociability, especially between trees of the same species, leads to the sharing of food through interconnected root systems to create an ecosystem that allows protection from the elements. A tree is only as strong as the other trees around it, and the creation of a forest allows longer lives for many of the trees. The common root system allows weak and sick trees to be nourished by the stronger ones, and sometimes it is extended to even trees of other species, often just considered competitors.
Trees of the same species grow together best, side by side, achieving the same height. Like good friends they don’t crowd each other but grow their branches out to the tips of the neighboring tree. The trees have their most sturdy branches facing those “non-friends” of other species. The canopy created moderates heat and cold and forms a protected environment where ever tree is important to the community of trees.
Wohlleben explains that trees communicate with electrical impulses much like humans. When we feel pain in part of our body the electrical impulse travels through the nerves and we instantly feel the pain. With trees the electrical impulses travel at 1/3 of an inch per hour and it can take a hour for the impulse to inform the tree of a problem which might be considered pain. Electrical impulses travel through the root systems to inform of issues with neighbors, sometimes even to and from other species.