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UBC forestry prof addresses Estonian mycorrhizal community

April 23, 2024  By Stephanie Troughton, Special to CFI

Leho Tedersoo, left, and Suzanne Simard in Tartu, Estonia. Photos courtesy Stephanie Troughton.

In a remarkable display of international collaboration and knowledge exchange, Suzanne Simard, a prominent figure in mycorrhizal ecology from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry, shared her expertise with the mycorrhizal community at the University of Tartu in Estonia.

Simard was recently named as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2024.

Initiated by Leho Tedersoo, head of the Mycology and Microbiology Center at the University of Tartu, the collaboration culminated in Simard’s presentation to the university crowd, where she delved into her extensive research on mycorrhizal networks in the temperate forests of western Canada.

Tedersoo, renowned globally for his contributions to fungal research, expressed the community’s keen interest in Simard’s work, particularly her groundbreaking study, the Mother Tree Project.


“It was clear to me there was a great deal of interest in Dr. Simard’s body of published work as well as her book,” noted Tedersoo.

Simard is the author of the best-selling Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, which was translated into Estonian a year ago.

During her address, Simard not only shared insights from her research but also addressed and dispelled recent misinformation regarding her work in some public opinion articles. Her presentation encompassed the significance of mycorrhizal networks in forest ecosystems and their role in climate change mitigation.

Reflecting on the collaboration, Simard expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage with the Estonian community.

“Despite the geographical separation of our forests, our research objectives align closely, particularly in our shared pursuit of nature-based solutions for mitigating climate change,” she remarked.

The event also served as a platform for Simard to serve as an opponent in the Ph.D. defense of Sanni Färkkilä, a graduate student exploring the utilization of nanoparticles in mycorrhizal ecology.

As the exchange concluded, Simard expressed optimism for future collaborative endeavors, emphasizing the potential for furthering research objectives and advancing understanding in the field of mycorrhizal ecology.

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