I am delighted to share my review of The Power of Trees: How Ancient Forests Can Save Us If We Let Them by Peter Wohleben. This is a fabulous book and one that made so much sense to me. After reading this book I immediate went and bought he previous one.
My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my paperback copy of this book from the publisher Greystone Books.
In the follow up to his Sunday Times bestseller, The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben compares tree planting to battery farming.
‘In clear, vivid prose 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 and The Soul of an Octopus
TREES CAN SURVIVE without humans, but we can’t live without trees. Even if human-caused climate change devastates our planet, trees will return—as they do, always and everywhere, even after ice ages, catastrophic fires, destructive storms, and deforestation. It would just be nice if we were around to see them flourish.
The Power of Trees is forester Peter Wohlleben’s follow-up to The Hidden Life of Trees, a Sunday Times bestseller that sold millions of copies worldwide. In his latest book, he is dismissive of token gestures in terms of tree planting. Just as he compared forest trees to ‘families’ and urban trees to ‘street urchins’ in his first book, in The Power of Trees he uses equally powerful metaphors to compare tree planting to battery farming (‘Switching to fast-growing species and breeding trees for desired traits brought results like those achieved by factory farming: individuals ready for harvest at a young age, all with a relatively uniform carcass weight.’). However, he also joyfully describes trees determination to survive, describing seedlings breaking through the earth where you least expect them, as ‘stalwart tree children’.
This latest work is as fascinating and eye-opening as it is trenchant in its critique: on the one hand, Wohlleben describes astonishing discoveries about how trees pass knowledge down to succeeding generations and their ability to survive climate change; on the other, he is unsparing in his criticism of those who wield economic and political power—who plant trees exclusively for the sake of logging and virtue signaling—even as they ruthlessly exploit nature. The Power of Trees is a love letter to the forest and a passionate argument for protecting nature’s boundless diversity, not only for the sake of trees, but also for us.
I am someone who loves being outside in my garden. It is a mix of fruit, veg and flowers and over the past 5 years, I have been planting trees to make my little plot as diverse as possible for the wildlife in my piece of Cornwall, UK. I have always been someone who likes the outside and living where I do I am close to nature as I live at the edge of a village. Surrounded by farmland, small areas of trees and also the coast. Reading The Power of Trees has opened up more ideas for me and there are little steps I can make in my own garden to do my part in helping the trees.
This is such a fantastic book to read, it is so informative. Yes, it is a bit science-based in places but not too much so. The author takes us through the evolution of trees, a slow natural process, and how this compares to how people try to manage a similar thing. Trees have adapted and changed over millions of years. There is fossilised evidence of plants and trees, so it does beg the question… how do we know more about the evolution of a species so different to ourselves. The fact that trees are the lungs of the earth makes it obvious that without them we would not survive.
The author tells how exasperated he gets when he comes across managed forests, these are planted for profit and are a single species. This means if there is a problem the whole forest can and does suffer. Rather than the diverse trees that have gradually made their homes and know how to work with the environment, managers believe they are better at doing it. they are not.
By removing the stalwarts of the older forest we are interfering and making the same mistakes over and over again. Scientists have been shouting for many years about how human progress is hindering the natural process. When you look at various documentaries, read articles online or just have a look with your own eyes, you can see that things are changing.
So why then do those in politics, who are backed by the money men prefer not to listen to what is backed up by years of research and study? It’s obvious, it’s all about the money, the profits and the financial gain.
As a gardener, I am aware of how carefully choosing the right plants to put in my garden. But it is becoming more difficult to work out what will do well in a particular growing season as the climate is so changeable. So how on earth can anyone work out what the climate will be like in 20 or 100 years times?
The author discusses many other things in this book and rather than paint a bleak picture he does offer hope. That we can change and see how beneficial the trees that have grown for hundreds of years actually know what they are doing, after all, they have been doing it for far longer. Trees are able to adapt to their surrounding, as is all plant life if it is in the right place at the right time.
The author has laid out this book in such a good way. He shows arguments from different groups, shows research and studies from people around the world and laid it down in the pages of his book. It makes sense, a couple of times I was a little lost in the science, but there really isn’t that much. It is such an informative read and one that as soon as I picked it up completely had me hooked. As soon as I finished this one I bought his previous book, The Hidden Life of Trees.
If you have any interest in nature and the environment, if you are a gardener, a person that likes being outside, or someone who likes to sit under a tree on a sunny day to have a coffee, then this is a book you might enjoy. I adored it and I have taken so much from it that I can actually use and therefore it makes it a very important book. An amazing book that I would absolutely recommend.
About the Author
PETER WOHLLEBEN is one of the world’s most notable foresters and a passionate advocate for tree conservation. Wohlleben lives in Germany, where he manages an ecologically conscious forest and runs an academy for education and advocacy. His books are bestsellers around the world. He speaks fluent English and will be In the UK 22-24 April 2023 to launch the book at the Cambridge Literary Festival and at The Linnean Society in London and available for further Interviews.
Check out the other stops on the blog Tour…
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx