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The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  727 ratings  ·  143 reviews
The Man Who Planted Trees is the inspiring story of David Milarch’s quest to clone the biggest trees on the planet in order to save our forests and ecosystem—as well as a hopeful lesson about how each of us has the ability to make a difference.

“When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. The second best time? Today.”—Chinese proverb
Twenty years ago, David M
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Spiegel & Grau
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Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who care about their children and children;s childrens future.
The world may never have the "grove of champion trees" it once had but it won't be because of Jim Robbins and the people he has written about. Their efforts are chonicled in this disturbing view of our world today and the treeless future of tomorrow. Just as frightenng is the domino effect occurring daily around the world due to our indifference and inaction in re-foresting the planet. This book is heralded as "the book that may save our planet" and when one reads this, one will know the truth b ...more
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Many people disagree about the concept of global warming. Some don't believe that global warming even exists, while others disagree on the cause. Whether you agree with global warming or not, however, it is becoming quite clear that all is not as it should be. Into this fray steps a most unique man, David Milarch. He is the creator of a company called Archangel, which is attempting to clone the oldest trees for replanting. His belief is that our earth, and therefore all living beings, are much m ...more
May 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lea by: Good Reads Win
The book is a combination of science of trees and forests, the lack of research completed on trees and forests- the great unknowns, David Milarch and his near death experience that lead him to attempt to clone all the Champion Trees in the world, and the sad state of our planet. It reads like a story, was quick and easy to understand, all the scientific information is presented in an easy to understand format. The spiritual aspects are the basis for Milarch's mission and it's well known that tre ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book in a Good Reads First Giveaway.

I really enjoyed Mr. Robbins writing style and easily made it through this book over a weekend. I agree with a previous reviewer - I'm concerned that the only people who would read it are those that already share similar concerns or viewpoints.

Conversely, I liked that the book blended hard scientific research with the more "spiritual". I thought the balance played to a wider audience although I can see how those on either side of the argument
Anna L  Conti
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature-animals
A complex story, told simply and clearly. Actually it's three stories, interwoven. First,is the almost unreal story of the man who started cloning and planting champion trees around the world. Then, there's the story of trees and our relationship with them, on this earth. And finally, the amazing story of new scientific discoveries about trees - incredible facts that are not general knowledge, but have significant importance to the health of every one of us. Guarantee to make you look at every t ...more
Brooke Smith
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of course I know forests are important. But I had no idea what else our trees do for us and the planet. This is a must read.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
TL;DR: a reasonably compelling environmental narrative, but don't expect good science.

This was an enjoyable read, for the most part, and has some fascinating information about various species of trees. You really get a sense of urgency about the plight of the world's forests, and a compelling case is made for more research and concentrated planting efforts. It did feel at times like the author was trying to accomplish lots of different things, and he didn't always manage to make it feel cohesiv
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I saw The Man Who Planted Trees listed on Goodreads, the description of David Milarch's near death experience being the catalyst for the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive intrigued me, but I thought it might include more new age spirituality than I was interested in reading. Author, Jim Robbins described David Milarch's near death experience and encounter with "light beings" only as a vehicle to introduce the project and then went on to relay some fascinating information about trees that was n ...more
Darrell Gerber
The part about trees was interesting and informative. The spirituality part was pretty hard to stomach. The book was a gift and I'm glad I read it but be prepared for some strange motivation behind it. ...more
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Amazing, inspiring. Makes me appreciate trees and forest even more, not to mention the will and spirit of David Milarch. You should read this book!
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This is so good, and everyone should read it and plant trees
Dan Gay
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely incredible. A copy of this should’ve delivered to every school and every government in the world.
Kera Conroy
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an awesome read. It explains the basic science of trees and then goes in depth to show how much an impact they have on the world and how little we truly know about them. This is a real life story of a man from Northern Michigan who began to clone the greatest trees to ever exist in an attempt to help save the planet.
Diane Kistner
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book took my breath away.

We all know what "survival of the fittest" means: that only the strongest, most vital, most excellent members of a species prevail, and so the gene pool is enhanced, the runts do not propagate as often so their weaker or defective genes eventually are culled, and the species as a whole becomes stronger in relation to the environment in which they live. "Survival of the fittest" does not occur in a vacuum; species depend on the quality of the ecosystem in which they
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
David Milarch decided (with the advice of supernatural beings - I'm ok with that - perhaps he had a dream and wasn't really visited by angels) to clone the world's oldest trees.

One of the trees that is memorable for me is "Methuselah" a Bristlecone pine Pinus longaeva. This tree is 4,800 years old and is the oldest living tree in the world. Because I love all things Czech, I was happy to hear that a clone of this tree is in the renowned 500-year-old arboretum at Charles University in Prague. I
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: natural-history
a bit of a wack idea, cloning all the north american champion trees, to both save those particular genes, and to plant and spread trees, big trees. the idea being that champion trees, like the sadly recently demised wye oak in maryland (the dang thing covered over 35 acres!!), has something special about them that they were/are the biggest, bestest examples and have survived for the last 3000-500 years or so, even survived our euro onslaught of saws, concrete, acid rain etc etc.
that isn't so str
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a very interesting read in more ways than one! There is the 'perhaps unbelievable' story of how John Milarch came to make his mission cloning Champion Trees in an attempt to save the trees and thereby the planet, the incredibly sad statistics and history of the killing of our forests, and the story of other scientists, numerous trees and forests; all makes for an excellent read that I would recommend to anyone. In the past I wouldn't have thought that everyone needs to be aware of such ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful,concise and persuasive book will open your eyes to how trees sustain the planet (you might think you know, but you don't really know -- unless you're already an expert) and how we must try to better understand all that they do, and of course quit chopping them down, before we lose all they provide. Indeed, we're already losing many of the benefits trees confer, a tragedy in motion that we see through the eyes of the "man who planted trees," an impassioned self-taught arborist and ...more
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I won a copy of this and look forward to reading it.

This book tells how urgent and important it is that we take care of our forests and especially the oldest trees as they do more for us than we know. They are our caretakers, our elders, our connection to life. We have so much to learn from them and with all the logging and clearing that has taken place we have lost some vital links to our future. I do think that trees are sacred and this book has taught me things that I did not know about trees
Rachel Bayles
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
A nice collection of essays about the importance of tree planting. Even for people who are familiar with the topic, there are one or two new ideas here. The author's admirable dedication to the issue is evident. ...more
Stan Bland
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story and interesting facts about trees. Illustrates how little we know and how much we have still to learn about our fast disappearing trees and forests.
John McAndrew
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Would you like some Woo with your Woods? Wow. The woo runs through this book like sap through a tree, but I loved it in spite of that. I'm not a New Age kind of person. Or even religious. So when, for instance, the author talks uncritically about two foresters, one of whom calls on "devas" to surround the top of a cutting (which they are hoping will sprout and take root) with white light and its base, where the roots will be, with green light; and the other forester asks his men's Bible group to ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the adventures of David Milarch, a Michigan nurseryman who, following a near-death experience, began a quest to locate and save genetic material from some of the oldest and healthiest trees in the world, or “Champion Trees.”

Robbins’s tone is urgent, as it should be. 90% of old-growth forests around the world are already gone. Years of “forestry” practices that focus on lumber rather than actual trees have left us with a shocking amount of unknowns when it comes to forests. Climat
Micah Freedman
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was a generally enjoyable and fairly quick read about David Milarch and his quest to clone champion trees around the world.

I enjoyed the style of the writing, and it was a short enough book that I felt compelled to finish. My favorite parts were the short vignettes about individual champion trees that were interspersed throughout the book.

I was disappointed at the quality of the science presented in the book. This is coming from someone with a background in ecology, evolutionary biology,
James P.
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Taking into account my basic lack of knowledge about trees—this book's message is VERY clear: trees will be one of the things that will save the planet.

Trees are indispensable! Just the fact that trees filter the air we breath and the water we drink should be enough to convince even the most stubborn climate deniers that we need more trees.

The man in the title is David Milarch. Originally from Michigan, David had a life changing experience and has since devoted his life to cataloging old growt
An inspiring story of a man and his team's efforts to reforest the planet with clones of the largest trees they can find. Simply and clearly written, the story of Mr. Milarch's quest is also interspersed with chapters dedicated to the stories of specific tree species that have been significant to humans throughout history. One unexpected chapter was the incredibly moving story of the early Euro-American's deforestation efforts of the coastal redwoods. The book also delves into the larger roll th ...more
This story tracks the account of David Milliarch, a man who had a near-death experience where he encountered angels or divas who instructed him to reforest the world and clone the genetics of the oldest trees in the world in hopes that their genetics will help the world as it transitions to a warmer climate. The book stresses how little we understand about trees and how important they are our #1 solution in dealing with climate change. I was most fascinated about how trees grow not only from the ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible and I'm so annoyed with myself for waiting so long to read it. It's the story of a man, David Milarch, who has a near death experience and comes back from that with a desire to do some good in the world, so he focuses on trees. He ends up developing a program that is cloning all of the largest, oldest, most sturdy trees around the world, and then planting clones of those trees in the places where they have been cut down or the groves are endangered. The book explores some ...more
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The man who planted trees by him robins is a book about trees but also about how David milarch talks about the importance of trees. And what he’s been doing to treat trees and help them. In this book it states that it is still possible to save the trees , the people in this world would just have to change. By that I mean david milarch says that If everyone in this world would plant about 2 trees then this world would have no worries but in reality because there is more humans on this planet we n ...more
Linda Maxie
Apr 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love trees, a good near-death experience story, and mystery. Jim Robbins crafted a marvelous book that switches back and forth between the story of David Milarch, who was told after a near-death experience to save the world's champion trees (the instructions came from Beings of Light), the history and science of trees, and the surprisingly large amount we still don't know about them.

Along the way, we meet a fascinating cast of characters, made up of both people and trees. We're in dire strait
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“What an irony it is that these living beings whose shade we sit in,
whose fruit we eat, whose limbs we climb, whose roots we water, to
whom most of us rarely give a second thought, are so poorly
understood. We need to come, as soon as possible, to a profound
understanding and appreciation for trees and forests and the vital
role they play, for they are among our best allies in the uncertain
future that is unfolding.”
“Even viewed conservatively, trees are worth far more than they cost to
plant and maintain. The U.S. Forest Service's Center for Urban Forest
Research found a ten-degree difference between the cool of a shaded
park in Tucson and the open Sonoran desert. A tree planted in the
right place, the center estimates, reduces the demand for air
conditioning and can save 100 kilowatt hours in annual electrical use,
about 2 to 8 percent of total use. Strategically planted trees can
also shelter homes from wind, and in cold weather they can reduce
heating fuel costs by 10 to 12 percent. A million strategically
planted trees, the center figures, can save $10 million in energy
costs. And trees increase property values, as much as 1 percent for
each mature tree. These savings are offset somewhat by the cost of
planting and maintaining trees, but on balance, if we had to pay for
the services that trees provide, we couldn't afford them. Because
trees offer their services in silence, and for free, we take them for
More quotes…