“[Fungal networks] have recently been discovered by Professor Suzanne Simard and her graduate students to connect the roots of trees and facilitate the sharing of resources in Douglas-fir forests of interior British Columbia, thereby bolstering their resilience against disturbance or stress and facilitating the establishment of new regeneration.” http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/potd/2010/03/mycorrhizal_networks.php
Discoveries in many RLEs could be classified as “significant” or not depending on one’s perspective. Some would view the discovery of the sharing or resources between trees and fungi as absolutely significant as it is definitely groundbreaking. Another researcher with some doubts about the research or its conclusions might, however, not believe it is significant at all.
People with no background in science might also have contrasting views as to the significance of the research. An ecologically-minded person who supports a number of environmental causes might find the research worthwhile and “significant.” Conversely, a person with a financial interest in forestry (or someone with little time for the environmental movement) might see the RLE as academics wasting money on useless research.