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The Magnificence of Trees: Reads for Arbor Day

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The Magnificence of Trees: Reads for Arbor Day

arbord day 2024

We all love trees, whether in the backyard, parks or rain forests.  Our streets, parks, playgrounds and backyards are lined with trees that create a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment. One of the pleasures of summer is to curl up in a hammock in the shade of a leafy tree with a good book. Trees provide shade, magnificent color in the fall and blossoms in spring. They also provide oxygen and improve air quality, add value to your home, provide habitats for our avian neighbors and food for wildlife, besides innumerable other benefits. In mythologies and legends, trees are considered representative of life, growth, wisdom, power and prosperity.  Trees are being decimated at an alarming rate in our world’s forests and this affects ecosystems, wildlife, weather patterns and climate negatively.

Arbor Day, observed on the last Friday in April Arbor Day in the United States—which literally translates to “tree” day from the Latin origin of the word arbor—celebrates the planting, upkeep and preservation of trees.  Since 1972  the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization using reforestation and urban forestry to solve issues of climate change, community, and biodiversity, has planted trees to take on some of the biggest environmental challenges of our time.

Livingston has maintained a longstanding dedication to expanding and enhancing its greenery, engaging in tree recycling programs, and providing extensive land-use planning coordination.

Here are some tree themed books that inform and remind us of the importance and value of these majestic elements of nature.

compact trees

The Complete Guide to Compact Trees and Shrubs For the Garden by Duncan Coombs

This book guides the reader through the considerable range of small trees and compact shrubs now available, with full details on their cultivation requirements and how to incorporate them into a wider garden design. Understand how trees and shrubs are produced and learn how to select with confidence at the plant nursery or garden center. Consider how trees and shrubs may be best chosen and placed when designing a new garden, or replanting an established site.

Divining : A Memoir in Trees by Maureen Dunphy

In sixteen essays, each named after a species of tree, Dunphy explores the nature of human-arboreal relationships, and how each of these trees has — literally — served as a friend, a confidante, or a place to rest. Within reflections of her personal experience, she skillfully integrates scientific facts to achieve a balance of passion and practicality. While technology, screens, and the stress of the modern world direct our attention elsewhere, Dunphy brings the reader back to the trees right outside our windows.

Elderflora : A Modern History Of Ancient Trees by Jared Farmer

Examines the complex history of the world’s oldest trees and the challenges they faced through imperial expansion and the industrial revolution, as well as the current threat of global climate change.

Forest Walking : Discovering the Trees and Woodlands of North America by Peter Wohlleben

This book teaches you how to get the most out of your next adventure by becoming a forest detective, decoding nature’s signs and awakening to the ancient past and thrilling present of the ecosystem around you. What can you learn by following the spread of a root, by tasting the tip of a branch, by searching out that bitter almond smell? What creatures can be found in a stream if you turn over a rock–and what is the best way to cross a forest stream, anyway? How can you understand a forest’s history by the feel of the path underfoot, the scars on the trees along the trail, or the play of sunlight through the branches? The authors share experiences and observations from visiting forests across North America: from the rainforests and redwoods of the west coast to the towering white pines of the east, and down to the cypress swamps of the south and up to the boreal forests of the north. 

The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers

From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

Into the Forest : The Secret Language of Trees by Susan Tyler Hitchcock

In this revealing book, National Geographic combines legendary photography with cutting-edge science to illuminate exactly how trees influence the life of planet Earth–from our personal lives to the weather cycle. Beautifully illustrated essays tell the stories of the world’s most remarkable trees, from Tane Mahura in New Zealand, the ancient Maori “lord of the forest,” to Pando, a single aspen spreading over 100 acres: Earth’s largest living thing. 

tree book

The Tree Book : The Stories, Science, and History of Trees

The intricate world of leafy woodlands and abundant rainforests is revealed in this extensive visual guide to trees, exploring their key scientific traits and their ecological importance, as well as their enduring significance in human history and culture. From ancient oaks and great redwoods to lush banyans and imposing kapoks, this book reveals the anatomy, behaviors, and beauty of these incredible plants and habitats in detail. Combining natural history and a scientific overview with a wider look at the history, uses, symbolism, and mythology of trees,  this is a new kind of guide to these fascinating organisms.

The Tree Forager : 40 Extraordinary Trees & What To Do With Them by Adele Nozedar

This book profiles 40 incredible trees from the UK and US — from apple, ash, and bay, to walnut, willow, and yew, gorgeously illustrated with watercolor, pen and ink botanical illustrations. In her humorous, inspiring, and warm text, Adele explains how we can forage from our trees, not only for food, but also for home remedies, for ingredients to use in cocktails and ferments, and for materials to make toys, musical instruments, and other useful things.

Tree Thieves : Crime and Survival In North America’s Woods by Lyndsie Bourgon

Weaving together investigative reporting, colorful characters, logging history, political analysis, and cutting-edge tree science, this gripping account reveals the complexity of the illegal timber market.

The Treeline: The Last Forest And The Future Of Life On Earth by Ben Rawlence

For the last fifty years, the trees of the boreal forest have been moving north. Rawlence takes us along this critical frontier of our warming planet from Norway to Siberia, Alaska to Greenland, Canada to Sweden to meet the scientists, residents and trees confronting huge geological changes. Only the hardest species survive at these latitudes including the ice-loving Dahurian larch of Siberia, the antiseptic Spruce that purifies our atmosphere, the Downy birch conquering Scandinavia, the healing Balsam poplar that Native Americans use as a cure-all and the noble Scots Pine that lives longer when surrounded by its family. It is a journey of wonder and awe at the incredible creativity and resilience of these species and the mysterious workings of the forest upon which we rely for the air we breathe.

Trees Of North America : The Complete Identification Reference To Trees by National Audubon Society

An indispensable reference, it covers more than 700 species, with nearly 3,500 full-color photographs–including images of leaf shape, bark, flowers, fruit, and fall leaves. For ease of use, the book includes a glossary and a robust index, and is arranged according to the latest Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification system–with trees sorted by taxonomic orders and grouped by family, so that related species are presented together. Readers will appreciate the crisp detail of the photographs, range maps (reflecting the impacts of climate change), the physical descriptions, information on fruit, habitat, uses, similar species, and an important new category on conservation status. Essays by leading scholars provide holistic insights into the world of trees.

Twelve Trees : The Deep Roots of Our Future by Daniel Lewis

A compelling global exploration of nature and survival as seen via a dozen species of trees that represent the challenges facing our planet, and the ways that scientists are working urgently to save our forests and our future.

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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