Synopsis: Elephantine Boabs dot the Kimberley region of Western Australia; cattle rub against giant Bottle Trees and Ironbarks in Queensland, and Strangler Figs with 40-metre girths thrive in our northern rainforests. Snow Gums and Shining Gums eke out their lives on our icy mountain tops and prehistoric-looking Bunya Pines, which once looked down on the dinosaurs, grow in a few isolated places in Australia’s north-east.
Australia’s Remarkable Trees explores the extraordinary lives of fifty of Australia’s oldest, largest and most unusual trees. Richly illustrated with more than 500 photographs, writer Richard Allen and photographer Kimbal Baker went to the far reaches of Australia; travelling more than 60 000 kilometres—to photograph them and tell their stories.
Synopsis: Australia’s trees have stood as silent witnesses to the colonisation of a harsh land, as living memorials of events we must never forget, and as inspiration to generations of artists, poets and writers. Some will forever be associated with the pivotal moments in Australia’s history, some have simply offered shelter from the sun, while others have provided the wood that was at the foundation of European settlement. But regardless of their roles, they have all played a part in forming Australia’s heritage. The ancient, the young, those teetering on the brink of death, the tallest, the endangered – they all have stories they could tell.
Deakin, Roger. Wildwood, A Journey Through Trees. Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Books. 2007
Synopsis: From the walnut tree at his Suffolk home, Roger Deakin embarks upon a quest that takes him through Britain, across Europe, to Central Asia and Australia, in search of what lies behind man’s profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees. Meeting woodlanders of all kinds, he lives in shacks and cabins, builds hazel benders, and hunts bush-plums with aboriginal women. At once autobiography, history, a traveller’s tale and a work of natural history, Wildwood is a lyrical and fiercely intimate evocation of the spirit of trees: in nature, in our souls, in our culture, and in our lives.
Synopsis: Drori journeys through time and across cultures, using up-to-date plant science to demonstrate how trees play a role in every part of human life. This book weaves science with folklore, giving fascinating biographies of extraordinary trees.
Synopsis: Featuring 50 different types of tree, this informative compendium describes each by way of botanical qualities; medicinal uses for their leaves, bark, and wood; cultural symbolism; magical associations; and so much more. Fascinating facts abound: the Druids believed that only the wood of the yew tree was fit to make wands; a Ukrainian tonic of birch leaves contains the same healing properties as aspirin.
Synopsis: Trees are one of Earth’s oldest forms; silent witnesses to human evolution and the passing of time. Many people today take the presence of trees for granted, unaware of their greater significance in Earth’s ecology, their medicinal and nutritional properties, or the veneration bestowed on them by ancient peoples. This book is a unique combination of science and popular tree lore. Hageneder looks in detail at 24 of Europe and North America’s best-loved trees: their physical characteristics, their healing powers, the traditions associated with them and how they have inspired human beings through the ages.
Synopsis: This Atlas invites the reader to tour the farthest reaches of the rainforest in search of exotic—poetic—plant life. Guided in these botanical encounters by Francis Hallé, who has spent forty years in pursuit of the strange and beautiful plant specimens of the rainforest, the reader discovers a plant with just one solitary, monumental leaf; an invasive hyacinth; a tree that walks; a parasitic laurel; and a dancing vine. Further explorations reveal the Rafflesia arnoldii, the biggest flower in the world, with a crown of stamens and pistils the colour of rotten meat that exude the stench of garbage in the summer sun; underground trees with leaves that form a carpet on the ground above them; and the biggest tree in Africa, which can reach seventy meters (more than 200 feet) in height, with a four-meter (about 13 feet) diameter. Hallé’s drawings, many in colour, provide a witty accompaniment.
Synopsis: In the midst of spiraling ecological devastation, multispecies feminist theorist Donna J. Haraway offers provocative new ways to reconfigure our relations to the earth and all its inhabitants. She eschews referring to our current epoch as the Anthropocene, preferring to conceptualize it as what she calls the Chthulucene, as it more aptly and fully describes our epoch as one in which the human and nonhuman are inextricably linked in tentacular practices. The Chthulucene, Haraway explains, requires sym-poiesis, or making-with, rather than auto-poiesis, or self-making. Learning to stay with the trouble of living and dying together on a damaged earth will prove more conducive to the kind of thinking that would provide the means to building more livable futures.
Synopsis: In this collection of natural-history essays, biologist Joan Maloof embarks on a series of lively, fact-filled expeditions into forests of the eastern United States. Through Maloof’s engaging, conversational style, each essay offers a lesson in stewardship as it explores the interwoven connections between a tree species and the animals and insects whose lives depend on it–and who, in turn, work to ensure the tree’s survival. Maloof’s enthusiasm for firsthand observation in the wild spills over into her writing, whether the subject is the composition of forest air, the eagle’s preference for nesting in loblolly pines, the growth rings of the bald cypress, or the gray squirrel’s fondness for weevil-infested acorns. With a storyteller’s instinct for intriguing particulars, Maloof expands our notions about what a tree “is” through her many asides–about the six species of leafhoppers who eat only sycamore leaves or the midges who live inside holly berries and somehow prevent them from turning red. As a scientist, Maloof accepts that trees have a spiritual dimension that cannot be quantified. As an unrepentant tree hugger, she finds support in the scientific case for biodiversity. As an activist, she can’t help but wonder how much time is left for our forests.
Synopsis: In The Tree In Changing Light, Roger McDonald meditates on our unique landscape and its rich tapestry of native and introduced trees, which ‘give language to our existence’… Here too are historical vignettes of a landscape husbanded for many centuries by Australian Aboriginals, yet swiftly and irrevocably changed by European settlement; encounters with poets and painters inspired by trees; tales of ordinary people for whom trees are talismanic; and interwoven throughout are autobiographical sketches, slices of family history and episodes from Roger McDonald’s own life as a writer and sometime planter of trees.
Mead, Ted. Tarkine Forests- A Global Carbon Bank. Ted Mead Photos. 2021
Synopsis: The Tarkine forested region is wild and remote. It holds Australia’s largest single tract of contiguous rainforest, with pristine rivers, untracked mountains and majestic old-growth forests of global significance. In a world increasingly crowded and despoiled and facing a Climate Change crisis, this region is a vital carbon bank and a valuable natural treasure for us all to cherish. Its preservation – and ongoing human survival – depend upon our commitment.
Synopsis: With this astonishing collection, Thomas Pakenham produced a new kind of tree book. The arrangement owes little to conventional botany. The sixty trees are grouped according to their own strong personalities: Natives, Travellers, Shrines, Fantasies and Survivors. From the ancient native trees, many of which are huge and immeasurably old, to the exotic newcomers from Europe, the East and North America, Meetings with Remarkable Trees captures the history and beauty of these entrancing living structures. Common to all these trees is their power to inspire awe and wonder. This is a lovingly researched book, beautifully illustrated with colour photographs, engravings and maps – a moving testimonial to the Earth’s largest and oldest living structures.
Synopsis: Thomas Pakenham embarks on a five-year odyssey to most of the temperate and tropical regions of the world to photograph sixty trees of remarkable personality and presence: Dwarfs, Giants, Monuments, and Aliens; the lovingly tended midgets of Japan; the enormous strangler from India; and the 4,700-year “Old Methusalehs.” Although North American trees dominate this book, Pakenham also trekked to remote regions in Mexico, all over Europe, parts of Asia including Japan, northern and southern Africa, Madagascar, Australia and New Zealand.
Synopsis: All across the planet, trees literally hold the world together. This is the awe-inspiring biography of a single tree, from the moment the seed is released from its cone until, more than five hundred years later, it lies on the forest floor as a nurse log, giving life to ferns, mosses and hemlocks, even as its own life is ending. David Suzuki and Wayne Grady describe in lyrical detail the dramatic origins of a Douglas fir, which begins its life with a burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen. They uncover its amazing resilience, and also its vulnerability across its long life in the forest. The tree’s pivotal role in making life possible for the creatures around it–including human beings–is lovingly explored.
Tsing, Anna, Lowenhaupt.The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton University Press. 2015
Synopsis: Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world–and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to nurture trees, matsutake helps forests to grow in daunting places. It is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it sometimes commands astronomical prices. In all its contradictions, matsutake offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: what manages to live in the ruins we have made? By investigating one of the world’s most sought-after fungi, The Mushroom at the End of the World presents an original examination into the relation between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.
Synopsis: Colin Tudge’s The Secret Life of Trees: How they Live and Why they Matter explores the hidden role of trees in our everyday lives – and how our future survival depends on them. What is a tree? As this celebration of the trees shows, they are our countryside; our ancestors descended from them; they gave us air to breathe. Yet while the stories of trees are as plentiful as leaves in a forest, they are rarely told. Here, Colin Tudge travels from his own back garden round the world to explore the beauty, variety and ingenuity of trees everywhere: from how they live so long to how they talk to each other and why they came to exist in the first place. Lyrical and evocative, this book will make everyone fall in love with the trees around them.