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"British Wildlife is the pulsating heart of the UK nature conservation movement"

Matthew Oates, National Trust

"The most important and informative publication on wildlife of our times"

Michael McCarthy, The Independent

"Packed with readable, thoughtful, up to date articles; written by ecologists and naturalists for ecologists and naturalists"

Nick Baker, Presenter and Naturalist

Comment: What is a tree? Changing minds about symbiosis

By - James Merryweather

A tree is not just a tree, but an ecosystem. James Merryweather discusses the definition of symbiosis and delves into the symbiotic relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and trees.

This piece has emerged from ideas inspired by David Wilkinson’s thought-provoking contribution ‘What is a lichen? Changing ideas on the lichen symbiosis’ to the June 2018 issue of British Wildlife (BW 29: 351–357), along with knowledge gained through ecological research and 19 years of post-retirement observation, reading, teaching and thinking. I extrapolate Wilkinson’s ideas, applying them to what I consider to be lichen-like symbioses of other organisms, using the tree as a model, in the hope that this will promote a better understanding of symbiosis.

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"British Wildlife is the pulsating heart of the UK nature conservation movement."

Matthew Oates, National Trust

"The most important and informative publication on wildlife of our times"

Michael McCarthy, The Independent

"Packed with readable, thoughtful, up to date articles; written by ecologists and naturalists for ecologists and naturalists"

Nick Baker, Presenter and Naturalist