How Trees Can Save the World
From the internationally bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees
An illuminating manifesto on ancient forests: how they adapt to climate change by passing their wisdom through generations, and why our future lies in protecting them.
In his beloved book The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben revealed astonishing discoveries about the social networks of trees and how they communicate. Now, in The Power of Trees, he turns to their future, with a searing critique of forestry management, tree planting and the exploitation of old growth forests.
As human-caused climate change devastates the planet, forests play a critical role in keeping it habitable. While politicians and business leaders would have us believe that cutting down forests can be offset by mass tree planting, Wohlleben offers a warning: many tree planting schemes lead to ecological disaster. Not only are these trees more susceptible to disease, flooding, fires and landslides, we need to understand that forests are more than simply a collection of trees. Instead, they are ecosystems that consist of thousands of species, from animals to fungi and bacteria. The way to save trees, and ourselves? Step aside and let forests – which are naturally better equipped to face environmental challenges – heal themselves.
With the warmth and wonder familiar to readers from his previous books, Wohlleben also shares emerging scientific research about how forests shape climates both locally and across continents; that trees adapt to changing environmental conditions through passing knowledge down to their offspring; and how old growth may in fact have the most survival strategies for climate change.
At the heart of The Power of Trees lies Wohlleben’s passionate plea: that our survival is dependent on trusting ancient forests and allowing them to thrive.
'If we don’t learn to leave the trees alone, the trees will eventually be alone anyway—but without us. Wohlleben brilliantly and readably shows us how urgent and how hard it is to do nothing.'—The Guardian -
”'In clear, vivid prose and with impeccable reasoning, Peter Wohlleben makes a compelling case that almost everything we do in modern forestry management may be dead wrong. What should we do instead? Let the wisdom of the trees quell our human arrogance, heal the forest, and restore our sweet, green world.'” - Sy Montgomery, author of How to Be A Good Creature
”'Trees, says Peter Wohlleben, have wisdom. So does he. In this magisterial take on how forests can save the planet from our worst endeavours, the German forester warns us against the hubris of tree planting. For their forest wisdom is greater than ours. Planting is usually bad, a 'giant PR operation.' Instead, he says, the world needs the quiet magic of natural forest restoration. We are, at best, stewards of the world's forests. We must stand back and let them grow.'” - Fred Pearce, author of A Trillion Trees: Restoring Our Forests by Trusting in Nature.
”'The Power of Trees sends a powerful message that humankind will not survive unless we revolutionize the way we conserve and manage our planet's dwindling forests. Through eye-opening stories, Wohlleben underscores how trees and the biodiversity of the natural world present us with critically important solutions to the climate crisis. [It is an important wakeup call for individuals and large-scale forest managers alike!]'” - Jeffrey Horowitz, founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners and founding trustee of the Jane Goodall Legacy Foundation