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Trees

From Root to Leaf

Trees seen like never before—a world expert presents a stunning compendium, illuminating science, conservation, and art. 

Trees provoke deep affection, spirituality, and creativity. They cover about a third of the world’s land and play a crucial role in our environmental systems—influencing the water, carbon, and nutrient cycles and the global climate. This puts trees at the forefront of research into mitigating our climate emergency; we cannot understate their importance in shaping our daily lives and our planet’s future. 

In these lavish pages, ecologist Paul Smith celebrates all that trees have inspired across nearly every human culture throughout history. Generously illustrated with over 450 images and organized according to tree life cycle—from seeds and leaves to wood, flowers, and fruit—this book celebrates the great diversity and beauty of the 60,000 tree species that inhabit our planet. Surprising photography and infographics will inspire readers, illustrating intricate bark and leaf patterns, intertwined ecosystems, colorful flower displays, archaic wooden wheels, and timber houses. In this lavishly illustrated book, Smith presents the science, art, and culture of trees. As we discover the fundamental and fragile nature of trees and their interdependence, we more deeply understand the forest without losing sight of the magnificent trees.


320 pages | 500 color plates | 9.125 x 11.125 | © 2022

Biological Sciences: Botany, Conservation, Ecology

Earth Sciences: Environment

Reviews

“There are many books published on trees, but none quite like this one. The focus on trees from biological, ecological, and cultural perspectives; the array of diverse examples; and the excellence in design and illustration—all paired with the author’s considerable personal experience—make this book stand out.”

Sir Peter Crane, author of Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot

"Smith's stunning prose and fabulous illustrations make his book, Trees, an essential volume for both tree lovers and tree professionals. He not only celebrates trees, but also interweaves amazing facts and essential biology about these essential woody denizens of our planet. From seeds to leaves and form, bark, wood, flowers, and fruits, the book is an inspirational journey through the stories of diverse trees, and their impact on humankind. I loved it!"

Margaret Lowman, Executive Director, TREE Foundation

"In a world that is turning to trees to help solve the climate and biodiversity crises, Paul Smith’s Trees provides all of the ecological knowledge we need to use these essential plants to their greatest effectiveness.  A fascinating read from root to leaf!"

Douglas Tallamy

Table of Contents

Foreword by Robert Macfarlane
Introduction
 
Seeds
   Introduction
   Coconuts
   Architecture
   Size
   Dispersal Adaptations
   Distance Travelled
   Colour
   Fruits
   Seed Banks and the Seed Cathedral
   Millennium Seed Bank
   Heatherwick Studio’s Seed Cathedral
 
Leaves
   Introduction
   Biomimicry
   Art
   Architecture
   Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven
   Shape
   Pattern
   Texture
   Defences
 
Form
   Introduction
   Architecture
   Landscape Architecture
   Climatic Adaptations
   Tree Crown Mapping
   Oldest Living Species
   Bonsai Trees
   Root Systems
   Sentience and Mythology
   Spirituality
   Art
 
Bark
   Introduction
   Adaptations
   Colour
   Medicines and Uses
   Texture
   Dyes
   Cork
   Resins, Gums and Latex
   Frankincense
   Architecture
   Tree Damage
 
Wood
   Introduction
   Wayfarer’s Chapel
   Trunk Layers
   Use of Timber through the Ages
   Wood Density
   Colour
   Types of Timber
   Architecture
   The Mopane Tree
   Deforestation and Afforestation
   Design and Technology
 
Flowers
   Introduction
   Figs
   Blossoms
   Pollination Methods
   Anatomy
   Origin of Different Flowering Tree Species
   Japan’s Cherry Blossom Forecast
   Flower-viewing in Japan
   Hanami
   Fashion
   Design and Technology
 
Fruits
   Introduction
   Mutiny on the Bounty
   Size and Weight
   Most Popular Fruits by Production
   Apple Varieties
   Health Benefits
   Fruit-based Fashion
   Fruit Juices and Beverages
   Fruit and Alcohol
   Architecture
   Art
 
Symbiosis
   Introduction
   Tree Symbionts
   Screw Pine of Madagascar
   Species Network
   Ferns
   Lichens and Mosses
   Threatened Tree Species
   Causes of Tree Extinction
   Decline in Tree Species
   Trees in Children’s Literature
   Design
 
Trees and Us
   Introduction
   Urban Planning
   Timber Houses
   The World’s Forests
   Sacred Timber Buildings and Objects
   Tree-based Products
   Ecosystem Services
   The Global Tree Assessment
   Furniture
   Maple Tapping
   Chengdu City
 
Further Reading
Arboreta and Botanic Gardens
About the Authors and Acknowledgments
Credits
Glossary
Index

Excerpt

"In my experience, to walk in a wood is to take issue with Socrates’s declaration that ‘Trees and open country cannot teach me anything, whereas men in towns do.’ Time is kept and curated in different ways by trees, and it can be experienced in different ways when one is among them. It is beyond our capacity to comprehend that the American hardwood forest waited 70 million years for people to come and live in it—but the effort at comprehension is itself worthwhile. . . . Seeing a suburban magnolia always gives me a thrilling burst of Earth history: dinosaurs once browsed among these trees!"--Robert Macfarlane, from his Foreword

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