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The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  455 Ratings  ·  106 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
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Spiegel & Grau
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Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Diane Kistner
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gina
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
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A call to arms - or is it limbs?!

An extraordinary book of purpose. I am so encouraged when I read life stories of choosing the "harder path", of "following your heart". I love this book on so many levels.

I realize how ignorant I have been, and how much I have taken our trees for granted. I am grateful for the warning that this book is to be better stewards of our trees. I learned so much about each of the trees highlighted in each of the subject chapters. Wow! That just put me in my happy place
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book made me resolve to become involved in promoting tree planting when I am settled in my new environment. David Millarch and his minions have a vital message for the world, as have many others who "speak for the trees." Trees are key to human health and to the health of every living thing on this planet. They are also spiritual advisors, climate change fighters and providers of beauty. Read this book (a fast read) and learn. Then go out and plant trees! And don't forget to nurture ...more
Hope Squires
Those of you who know me won't be surprised that I really enjoyed this book. I loved the tales of the individual trees interspersed with the story of the fight to clone "champion" trees and preserve their DNA for future generations. Without getting too scientific, the book provided me with an even better understanding of the majesty and wonder of trees, and I wish every single person in this country (and most others, too, for that matter) would read this book.
Bronwyn Echols
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story and really good information about why everyone needs to go out and plant as many trees as possible: they are essential to the health not only of the planet but also to each and every organism--including humans--that shares the planet with them!
Samantha Southerd
I realllllly wanted to like this.... the science chapters were awesome but they alternated with more of a narrative that I didn't enjoy
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
not the most brilliantly written of books but certainly the most brilliant of subject matter, people, places, and even history. We are so letting the trees down.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-have-this
very inspiring! we can all make a difference.
Recently, I visited Longwood Gardens, which is a huge botanical garden near Philadelphia. As I was taking a photo of one of the (amazing) trees in the park, a guide came up to me and started telling me about the tree. It was a state champion, some kind of dogwood, the name of which escapes me now. So I asked him if there were any national champions on the grounds. His face lit up and he said, "That's a great question! I love good questions because I'm a guide." And he pointed me in the direction ...more
Maggie Clymer
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet is an inspirational scientific novel written by Jim Robbins. Robbins documents the quest of David Milarch,a man who founded the company responsible for cloning the largest and oldest trees on the planet. Robbins speaks of Milarch’s belief that trees play the most important role in an ecosystem, and that the trees we see around us are the “runts” of the trees that came before and had been cut do ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have one question, why isn't this book a must-read for all nature lovers? I have not heard of this book until I was browsing a bookstore in Helena, Montana while on vacation last summer; and I just picked it up last week to read it. I wish I had read it a lot sooner as it is a beautiful, if alarming, story to the state of the trees in our world today.

I have always loved trees. I prefer trees more so than the sun and the beach, and some of my happiest memories are in the woods. It broke my hea
Leland Beaumont
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is a rare and wonderful mix of warm-hearted storytelling, hard-headed science reporting, and a smattering of mysticism integrated into an inspiring true story of how one man’s actions are now working to restore and reinvigorate the forests and help heal the planet.

The most grand and spectacular instances of each tree species are known as champion trees. Enthusiasts seek out these magnificent trees and nominate them for champion status. However, not until nurseryman Dave Milarch’s Near
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I ate up the parts of this book that were about giant trees and the process of cloning and saving them. But the story veers off into the weeds with the author's credulous stories of everything from near-death experiences to psychic tree dowsers and even a massage from a squirrel. (Oh, and water has memory.) His science reporting exhibits the same flaws I see in so much reporting -- a lack of context and perspective, whether that’s reporting hard numbers or vague claims. Stories that happened to ...more
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Share This Book

“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…