Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It takes a forest

Peter Wohlleben writes that in Europe, giant redwoods, planted in city parks as “exotic trophies,” never grow especially tall:

What is missing here, above all, is the forest, or — more specifically — relatives. At 150 years old, they are, when you consider a potential life-span of many thousands of years, indeed only children, growing up here in Europe far from their home and without their parents. No uncles, no aunts, no cheerful nursery school — no, they have lived all their lives out on a lonely limb. And what about the many other trees in the park? Don’t they form something like a forest, and couldn’t they act like surrogate parents? They usually would have been planted at the same time and so could offer the little redwoods no assistance or protection. In addition, they are very, very different kinds of trees. To let lindens, oaks, or beeches bring up a redwood would be like leaving human children in the care of mice, kangaroos, or humpback whales. It just doesn’t work, and the little Americans have had to fend for themselves.

The Hidden Life of Trees, trans. Jane Billinghurst (Vancouver: Greystone, 2016).
On a related note: Gabriel Popkin writes in The New York Times about curing yourself of tree blindness (found via Matt Thomas’s blog).

Also from The Hidden Life of Trees
A social network

[There’s considerable repetition in this book, and I sometimes think I will never get through it. But I’ve learned a lot, and I’ll never not look at trees in the same way again. In other words, I’ll never take them for granted as just somehow there in the landscape. Please notice that Wohlleben is writing about species. There is nothing in his argument here to suggest that children from one culture cannot be raised by parents from some other culture.]

comments: 2

Diane Schirf said...

They are the bonsai of giant redwoods?

It's a good thing that they don't get large. Loose branches weight tons and are called widow makers. They create craters when they fall. You do not want to be under a falling redwood or sequoia branch.

I'm debating with myself whether to read this book. It would pair nicely with The Wild Trees. http://www.slywy.com/book-review-wild-trees-story-passion-daring/

Which as you can see had too much about people and not enough about the far more interesting trees.

Michael Leddy said...

This book is pretty much trees only.