Around 90% of land plants are in mutually-beneficial relationships with fungi. The 19th-century German biologist Albert Bernard Frank coined the word "mycorrhiza" to describe these partnerships, in which the fungus colonises the roots of the plant.
Fungal networks also boost their host plants' immune systems. That's because, when a fungus colonises the roots of a plant, it triggers the production of defense-related chemicals. These make later immune system responses quicker and more efficient, a phenomenon called "priming". Simply plugging in to mycelial networks makes plants more resistant to disease.
"These plants are not really individuals in the sense that Darwin thought they were individuals competing for survival of the fittest," says Simard in the 2011 documentary Do Trees Communicate? "In fact they are interacting with each other, trying to help each other survive."
Connection to mycorrhizal networks creates positive feedbacks between adult trees and seedlings of the same species and can disproportionally increase the abundance of a single species, potentially resulting in monodominance. Monodominance occurs where a single tree species accounts for the majority of individuals in a forest stand.
sculpting and collaging materials
six pieces comprise shelf-like fungi sourced from old trees, foraged from different parts of japan — tokyo, chiba, gunma, yamanashi, gifu and yamagata. He’s spent the past few years foraging for gilded polypores in the woods in Japan. Polypores grow on tree trunks and branches. When you remove them from bark, like Makoto did, they harden. He’s collected more than 1,500 of the wrinkled fungi, which look like fossilized mushrooms. Disembodied from their trunks, these raw natural resources have been combined with molten gold, platinum and copper, forming a hardened shell around the wooden shapes.