What One New England Tree Can Tell Us About the Earth’s Future

By Studying a Single Massachusetts Oak, I Recorded How Climate Change Is Confusing Nature

Trees are up to more than we think. Belying their image as mute, unmoving, and solitary, trees are not just standing there. They move. Breathe. Communicate. Politically astute and nimbly networked, trees command a sophisticated array of processes and living beings, above ground and below.

Every schoolchild learns that trees use their leaves to feed themselves through an alchemy of sunlight, water, and air. While they are at it, they help make the oxygen that sustains much of life on Earth, including us.

But below ground they are also hard at …