With this petition we want to bring to the attention of the media that the attention the book “The hidden life of trees” by Peter Wohlleben has generated exceeds to the extreme its scientific factual basis. This book cannot be classified as popular science. Instead claims are portrayed as facts which serve as a storyline that appeals to the mainstream.
It is wonderful and encouraging that a mass audience can be inspired by a bestselling book about forests: “The hidden life of trees” written by Peter Wohlleben. It is very unfortunate, however, that, through this book, so many people obtain a very unrealistic understanding of forest ecosystems because the statements made here are a conglomerate of half-truths, biased judgements, and wishful thinking derived from very selective and unrepresentative sources of information. Unfortunately this book is perceived as popular science. And therein lies the problem. While it is certainly popular, it is certainly not based on solid science and, consequently, provides many people with a distorted understanding of forests and forestry. Owing to the high media attention the book and author receive, we feel the need to state clearly that a very large proportion of the claims in this book is not based on scientific evidence. We, the signatories, are a group of concerned citizens and scientists from different countries and a range of disciplines including forest sciences, ecology, and biology. We believe that this book is further proof of the sad situation that oversimplification and emotional explanations of complex matters are better received by a wide audience than factual information generated by thorough investigations. In the long-term, the environment in general and forests in particular will not be helped by the sort of unenlightened thinking promoted by the hidden reality of this book.