Hollywood actor Amy Adams is set to play a UBC ecology professor in an upcoming feature film based on the researcher's new memoir.
Suzanne Simard, a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia, has dedicated her life work to her discovery that trees are indeed whispering to each other — communicating, not through the wind, but through the soil.
Simard's new memoir Finding the Mother Tree, describing her life and research, has now been picked up by Adams production company Bond Group Entertainment, with plans to turn it into a feature film.
Adams plans to star as Simard in the film, which she and fellow Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal will also produce.
"Finding the Mother Tree is not only a deeply beautiful memoir about one women's impactful life, it's also a call to action to protect, understand and connect with the natural world," Adams wrote in a statement about the film on Instagram.
Simard has spent the past four decades trying to understand how trees communicate with each other. She's found that they are part of a mutually supportive community, sharing resources with both kin and strangers that are in need.
She says this interlinked society of trees is where the fungi bring nutrients and water to the tree in exchange for photosynthesis.
These communities are centred around what researchers call "mother trees," which support seedlings by infecting them with fungi and supplying them the nutrients they need to grow.
"We call them mother trees, and they are the biggest, oldest trees in the forest. They're highly connected to all the other plants and trees and they actually nurture their young as well as other plants," Simard told Stephen Quinn on CBC's The Early Edition.
Simard says the mother trees are essential for biodiversity, something that has become a growing concern in B.C.'s forests due to the logging of old-growth trees.
The professor said she's excited at the prospect of the movie and hopes it will make people understand and care more about forests.
"I'm thrilled that Amy will bring a great sensitivity to this piece. She is, you know, a really great person to highlight the issues," Simard said.