The Toblach Talks

What do trees know? The Enchantment and Torment of forests

23 September 2020

Are forests the victims of climate change or are they more the protectors of the world’s climate? These were among the topics discussed at this year’s Toblach Talks, around the subject What do trees know? The Enchantment and Torment of Forests. The Talks, that took place in Toblach, South Tyrol, Italy, 27-29 September 2019, considered forests from various perspectives and through a range of expertise, from philosophy and sociology to forestry and natural science.
Presentations focused on forests as complex organisms, and participants discussed an eco-centric view of the world as opposed to a human-centred vision, learnt that plants have senses, memory and conscience and recognize their kin, and that forests are complex systems with hub (mother) trees and extensive mycorrhizal networks.
Once again, the point was made that old-growth and diverse forests are the most resilient ones, and that forest management which follows natural dynamics best ensures conservation in the long run. This new understanding of forests helps us to see and to respect trees and forests as living beings rather than static objects. Experts, books, videos, conferences and exhibits are increasingly conveying this message.
The Toblach Talks is a yearly event that has been taking place since 1985; each year an environmental issue is discussed and solutions are proposed, for the Alps and beyond.

Isabella Vannucchi
Medforval secretariat