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The Sun Magazine

The Natural World

Plants

The Sun Interview

Going Underground

Paul Stamets On The Vast, Intelligent Network Beneath Our Feet

A mycelial “mat,” which scientists think of as one entity, can be thousands of acres in size. The largest organism in the world is a mycelial mat in eastern Oregon that covers 2,200 acres and is more than two thousand years old. Its survival strategy is somewhat mysterious. We have five or six layers of skin to protect us from infection; the mycelium has one cell wall. How is it that this vast mycelial network, which is surrounded by hundreds of millions of microbes all trying to eat it, is protected by one cell wall? I believe it’s because the mycelium is in constant biochemical communication with its ecosystem.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Shade

A Letter From Gettysburg

I didn’t learn about the tree-cutting program at Gettysburg National Military Park until I saw early evidence of its implementation. Just north of the hill known as Little Round Top, more than a hundred large trees — maples, oaks, tulip trees, mulberries, magnolias, cedars, hickories, and ash — were felled and hauled away in a matter of weeks.

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