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An urgent and illuminating portrait of forest migration, and of the people studying the forests of the past, protecting the forests of the present and planting the forests of the future.
Forests are restless. When a tree dies or a new one sprouts, the forest that includes it shifts. When new trees sprout in the same direction, the whole forest begins to migrate, sometimes at astonishing rates. Today, however, an array of obstacles—humans felling trees by the billions, invasive pests transported through global trade—threaten to overwhelm these vital movements. Worst of all, the climate is changing faster than ever before and forests are struggling to keep up.
A deft blend of science reporting and travel writing, The Journeys of Trees explores the evolving movements of forests by focusing on five trees: giant sequoia, ash, black spruce, Florida torreya and Monterey pine. Zach St George visits these trees in forests across continents, finding sequoias losing their needles in California, fossil records showing the paths of ancient forests in Alaska, domesticated pines in New Zealand and new sprouts of blight-resistant American chestnuts in New Hampshire. Everywhere he goes, St George meets lively people on conservation’s front lines, from an ecologist studying droughts to an evolutionary evangelist with plans to save a dying species. He treks through the woods with activists, biologists and foresters, each with their own role to play in the fight for the uncertain future of our environment.
An eye-opening investigation into forest migration past and present, The Journeys of Trees examines how we can all help our trees, and our planet, survive and thrive.