Oh, I see, the subterranean networks is an argument for fuzzy logic and analog data, which maps very poorly to graphs as an abstraction of clear, discrete boundaries and explicit, well-controlled states. Would absolutely clutter/pollute a graph if somebody were to reflect the readings of a high-precision sensor as separate notes and connecting them to the reading of a time source, which is clearly not a fitting, adequate use case for graphs as an instrument/tool.
Update: OK, from the article, you could put every tree as a node and the fungi as connections/edges (mostly benefiting from a tree being fixed in space by its surface appearance, and as such identifiable as separate from other trees). But trying to also reflect/model the fungi, roots, soil, temperature, maybe there’s some transmission going on with animals/insects/pores-in-wind, etc.)… In general, intuitively, the physical world and nature tend to have plenty of these non-obvious/hidden, hard/impossible to measure, non-formal/-deterministic (fuzzy/analog) things of high complexity and fine systemic as well as dynamic tuning/cooperation/adaption going on. If there’s a simplistic explaination/model, it’s almost certainly wrong or incomplete
Update: what if looking at trees primarily as an organism of roots, which just happens to have some surface periphery to catch itself some resources like light and carbon? If one cuts off the surface periphery, it grows another one anew, but the cut periphery is dead material without it’s center/organism, which is the roots. Just humans as surface-level beings only perceive trees as above-ground organisms, that’s where the focus is, how we perceive/interpret them. OK, admittedly, roots get some water to grow the surface-level parts, bridging a break in the medium.
Update: the article goes nonsense as soon as the speculation about individualism vs. cooperatism or “superorganism” as well as Darwinism and “gene evolution” theory starts. Guess something can be said about different categories/types of organisms, and the modalities/ratios/interactions of individualism and/or cooperatism. It’s all of these things going on at the same time in parallel, to different and/or even varying degrees. Update: everyone knows and understands that parasite plants are known for quite some time, yes? Whether symbiotic or not, certainly that’s what many plants do – not consciously/actively, merely as a matter of adaption to the circumstances they happen to encounter at hand. Update: a cynic could say that it’s only humans who have this mechanism of abstract logic with makes it hard for them to synergize Update: are plants naturally intelligent by mere setup of their mechanism(s) (don’t want to say patterns, more organic Alan Kay microbiology patterns or dynamic, adapting pattern language)? Update: the whole ramble there about active species that move, stages of animals with different capabilities, trees as living organisms and then dead matter, sure, that’s a categorization/hierarchy to group what’s similar in terms of action/ability, but then, there could be other categorizations as well which don’t artificially put these groups into such a hierarchy/scale, as they’re each organisms in their own right which only differ in strategy/implementation from other organisms in what/how they do their things. One day somebody might find evidence that rocks are “living” organisms in a sense and communicating/connected. Just because we can’t measure/observe it doesn’t mean it’s not real/existing, and be it via quantum entanglement or something without getting esoteric. And then sure it’s not how plants or humans are “connected”, just in a different way by overloading the term with a different meaning. Like people call their Web platforms an “operating system”, which it might be for the stuff it’s operating in service to apps on top, but not what was originally meant by the term for operating actual computer hardware directly. Example from the article: “trading” or “trees sending messages”, in communication that always refers to an active part submitting the message to a receiver, while trees don’t do this actively, awarely, consciously (as one would say a human is conscious), but in the plant world the organism has some effects going on which leads to independent receivers getting indirectly affected by it in some way (hence a “message” was received, and even if it is two-directional “exchange”, it’s not following a formal protocol as the term “exchange” would imply). Mixing up overloaded jargon leads to people inferring conclusions/assumptions which are incorrect, not justified, or may not translate well (and confuse/mislead instead). Update: and then, right after that, indeed, example of unsubstantiated “mother trees”. Also, it’s not that these trees go for an optimum or are aware of one or manage to find it, it’s just some effects going on for them individually, and if it so happens that they encounter new opportunities or circumstances, they adapt to what works for themselves locally including/involving cooperation with others, but there might also be serious misconfiguration and confusion in lack to communicate clearly, explicitly and coordinate accordingly). Question of “On a more fundamental level, it remains unclear exactly why resources are exchanged among trees in the first place, especially when those trees are not closely related” is just dumb – resource exchange is what simply happens, as these organisms are not able to actively start or stop any of it, it’s more a result of their mechanism/design/pattern. Humans know ways to exploit that in many ways for a long time – don’t know for sure, but imagine how natural rubber is harvested or maple syrup, would likely work with roots and fungi as well in some way, but extracting flows from a tree, it might in turn even start to produce more, because there’s a deficit/loss/leak in order to balance/compensate. I would bet that you could “connect” to a tree and “trade” and “communicate” with it, and what would it say? Only “talk” and care/trade about tree-like/-relevant things. If one “listens” carefully, it might “tell” you where to find the water, or which other trees in the forest are unhealthy and soon about to collapse. You could tell it some lies if you wanted of course, and the tree would believe all of them without question. Stopped reading the article roughly in the middle, part because the layout and screen reading really gets in the way, and then don’t care much about the confused nonsense about evolution of genes and speculating on how that might relate to altruism and selfishness and that kind of typical, popular, but false confused nonsense. It’s not scientific, but wild speculation/interpretation in article publishing. It’s abstract theories that don’t match well with reality. These plants are not aware nor in control, just if something works out well, it delivers the resources to increase the effect/flow even more, as positive/negative feedback loops. It’s a pattern/systems thing, not a social construct or something. Their information processing and decision making is different from a computer or a human brain. Assumptions which are true for one of these might not at all be for each/any of the other. Update: continued to read just for completion/fairness/rigor (despite expensive/costly). Guess nobody in Europe is doing clearcutting as part of regular foresting/logging as it would just be devastating and not sustainable also for the business within the individual nation states (on the other hand, guess Europe is importing some wood or wood products from Russia, logging Siberia with North Korean forced cheap labor or something – who knows if any of that is true, and to what extend). Isn’t the claim that the Romans did cut down all of their forest in order to build their galley navy, which is why they’re mostly in hot climate since then? Update: “Organism” is a setup/structure/system which channels/organizes energy/flows into some effect like growth or movement, in contrast to dead physical matter. Higher-level organisms have a mechanism for feedback loops in order to control/direct the allocation/flows of energy in order to optimize towards certain optimums like for example stability or speed. Meta: Good example why I personally need some reading + writing tools to help me with my sensemaking. Apologies, was expensive to read the long, inconvenient article, to write down notes/comments, no time to condense, no tools for annotation as well as keeping the referenced original intact because of copyright and lack of tooling. Article currently has 239 comments, likely all uncurated, no need to add mine as it’ll be lots of duplication as well as even more confusion and material to comment on.