The trees, while they appear to stand still, play an important role in this synergy, which can feel almost sentient. Then, in 1997, Nature published her study on the way trees share carbon via fungal networks. One of the most intriguing branches of her later research involves the way trees warn each other of disease or drought. What Simard, and the Secwepemc, call Mother Trees — the biggest, oldest trees in a grove — act as vital hubs in this communication network, passing messages and sustenance to their offspring and neighbors. ***Richard Powers’ The Overstory, a beautiful story weaving together trees and the disparate lives of those who love them, feature an ecologist who resembles Simard.