Watch TED Talk: Rewilding the soil

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TED Talk: How to harness the ancient partnership between forests and fungi

“What does a healthy forest microbiome look like?” In this brilliant Ted talk, Colin Averill of the Crowther Lab at the University of ETH Zurich discusses how the DNA sequencing of belowground fungi is a break through that is answering this critical question.

”If we want to better understand the environment and combat climate change, we need to look deep underground, where diverse microscopic fungal networks mingle with tree roots to form symbiotic partnerships.” says Colin.

The partnership between trees and fungus is ancient and this symbiotic relationship is fundamental to tree growth and carbon drawdown. With some spectacular images, Colin explains the importance of this relationship and asks, “Can we rewild our soils to combat climate change?”

Here he highlights the work at The Carbon Community where, together with Colin and other leading scientists, we are working on the answer to this question in a 28 acre (11 hectare) randomised controlled field-trial. In this study the forest microbiome is being restored by adding a small handful of soil at the time of planting. In very early results “we’ve been able to accelerate tree growth and carbon capture in tree stems by 30-70% depending on the tree species” explains Colin.

Excited yet? We are!

The Carbon Community brings together trees, science and people. It is incredible to watch Colin talk about our study on the TED Countdown stage. A huge thank you and shout out to all the people who has been involved in the project, your time, energy, enthusiasm and commitment is having an impact on climate science.

The results are very early, which is why Colin highlights the importance of more years of data and more field-trial sites. There are lots of ways you can get involved in our study as a volunteer during our Big Tree Measure 2023 or helping to fund trees & science. If this has sparked your interest, get in touch,