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Think about the last time you were walking in an old-growth forest.

Remember that smell of the fresh forest air, the calming sound of birds, the serene backdrop of leaves gently moving in the wind, and the sunlight peeking through the foliage? Remember how with each step you took, you could feel the twigs and branches crunching and your feet sinking into the soil sponge of old fallen leaves?

Well, what you saw, heard, and felt was only half of the story. Underneath your feet, there was a vast fungal network with a mind of its own. So pervasive that with just the imprint of your foot, extending down into the soil, there were enough fungal cells to stretch 300 miles, if placed end to end.

This underground network goes mostly unnoticed, but you can see hints of it when you look under the logs lying on the forest ground. The fuzzy, cobweb-like growths you find are called mycelium, a fine web of cells that, in one phase of its lifecycle, fruit mushrooms.

This overall fungal network has been called nature’s Internet or the ‘Wood Wide Web’. Like the Internet, it has a network-like design, where individual fungal cells merge together to form what some call the neurological network of nature. A network that, like the human brain, is aware and reacts to change. But unlike us, it has the long-term health of the entire host environment in mind.

WATCH | Mycorrhiza: What Connects Fungus and Plant (2:30min)

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