L.L. Barkat wrote a lovely post called Pine Needle Tea and Small Kindnesses where she said:
“If Darwin had studied trees, we might have a whole different view of things now,” my daughter recently said to me. After supper, she’s been reading us The Hidden Life of Trees.
Trees, who can live for thousands of years, take the long view, and for this reason they are very, very kind to all their members. Relying on an underground network of communication via roots and fungi, they will sometimes do things like send sugar and water to threatened trees on the other side of the forest, temporarily giving up what they could take for themselves alone.
What the trees understand is that the health of the whole forest depends on the health of even its weakest members, for if they let the weak trees suffer and die, then too many gaps open up in the overstory, and then the wind can come in and wreak havoc, knocking even the strongest trees down. Trees, oddly, to our eye, will even take care of mother trees that died long ago, sending sugar and water to still-living roots whose trunk and branches turned to humus hundreds of years prior.