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The Global Forest

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A gorgeously-written exploration of the natural world and the peril of ignoring our disappearing forests

One of the world's experts on how trees chemically affect the environment, Canadian scientist Diana Beresford-Kroeger is on a mission to save the planet- one newly planted tree at a time. In this new book, she skillfully weaves together ecology, ethnobotany, horticultu
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 13th 2010 by Viking
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  174 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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Friederike Knabe
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?" This intriguing and pertinent philosophical question, asked in a song by well-know Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn is being answered by a resounding "YES!" in Diana Beresford-Kroeger's highly edifying, detailed and accessible exploration on the life of trees, plants and creatures in the global forests of planet Earth. The author's message in her work, and in this book, is that it is vital for nature's survival as a healthy environment ...more
Scribal
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
As an artist trained as a botanist and raised by a forester I picked this book up with excitement and awe. After the introduction I was still excited but I couldn't even read the first chapter. It was such an undisciplined melange of random thoughts and misleading metaphors with the odd scientific factoid thrown in that I was appalled.
Shonna Froebel
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
Beresbord-Kroeger is a botanist and medical biochemist and an expert on medicinal, environmental, and nutritional properties of trees.
This book links that knowledge with a poetic style to celebrate trees, mourn losses, and educate the reader. Told in short chapters that echo traditional storytelling, Beresford-Kroeger shows how trees are a part of the larger environment, giving examples of how they interact with other plants, insects, animals and man. She shows how trees help each other out, and
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Nadine Doolittle
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I met Diana Beresford-Kroeger at a reading in my village. An amazing passionate speaker on the need to preserve our forests. The Global Forest is scientific exploration and spirituality. Mind-altering.
Debbie Hill
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: tree-themed
I was inspired to read this 2010 book after hearing about and later watching the movie Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees. While I enjoyed the movie and the author's 2013 book The Sweetness of a Simple Life: Tips for Healthier, Happier and Kinder Living Gleaned from the Wisdom and Science of Nature, I found her earlier book The Global Forest to be more detailed in scientific terminology and descriptions. Thus, it was a slower read as I tried to absorb all the concepts and details. ...more
Poppy Fitzgerald-Clark
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved learning from this book!
Beresford-Kroeger has a really accessible and lyrical way of describing scientific processes.
Tying in Indigenous history and agriculture was fantastic and refreshing to read.
A few essays were vaguer than others and occasionally a reference would feel a little outdated, which isn't a huge surprise considering the book was published almost a decade ago.
All in all, a beautiful and educational collection of essays and a great example for teaching through storytelling
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Will Blok
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Simplified science done well for the most part except for a few chapters. I think it could do with a through line - an argument or an evaluation of our interactions with trees. After all it is meant to be about how trees can save 'us'. At the moment it just feels like an, albeit pretty good at this, collection of research findings which lose meaning and significance when thrown all together like this.
Brian Griffith
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecology
This assembly of pithy but poetic essays conveys a lot of wonder and careful observation about forest plants. The lore of botany gains a historical, mythical, and a mystical dimension. The treatment is scattered, with a fairly free-flow mixture of chemistry lessons, wise woman healing secrets, an sometimes a dash of Celtic fairy magic. It sometimes gets hard for a novice like myself to tell where the scientific botany ends and the enthusiastic myth spinning begins.
Jane
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This collection of essays about trees and the plants and animals (including us) that cohabitate with and rely on is a great read, but no easy. She uses lots of botany and biology terms and an extensive vocabulary in these philosophical musings. Worth re-reading time and time again, as there is so much contained in each of these pieces.
Kent
Mar 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 21%. the writing is beautiful but it's packed with untruths and false equivalences. i was hoping for a more scientific take on The Hidden Life of Trees, but this is just as unrigorous despite the author being a scientist.
Amy
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Simultaneously poetic and scientific.
Andrea McDowell
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: green, 2019
This is a nice book about trees.

It's impossible to fact-check the claims she makes in it, as none of her statements are footnoted or referenced, so it's entirely possible that everything she says is invented; but it is (largely) warm and fuzzy, and if you like trees, you will probably enjoy reading it.

The last chapter was quite different; she relates a prophecy (unreferenced) about the destruction of the world presaged by an epidemic that attacks maple trees. The earth itself is dying. Adults ha
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Nancy
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-authors
I really appreciate the honesty and directness in this book and how all of that is presented in narrative format. Feels like reading a series of short essays on the widest range of topics connected to forests and our relationship with and responsibility to them. I learned so much! Forty ways trees can save us!

Beresford-Kroeger is a medical biochemist and botanist and in writing these essays I believe she found a good balance in vocabulary, using the words of her expertise as needed while knowing
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Erica
May 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: environmental
Trained in biochemistry but also a vocal advocate of aboriginal plant use, Diana Beresford-Kroeger is that rare person who bridges the divide between science and myth. Her new book catalogs the chemical lives of trees, describes their indirect and direct medicinal properties and serves as a call-to-arms to protect our rapidly dwindling forests. Each of the brief chapters (or “essays”) covers a different theme, from how animals have instinctually used plants as medicine to the ways that weather a ...more
Kourtnie McKenzie
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I didn't start reading nonfiction till I graduated from college, a little more than two years ago. My shining five-star review might stem from a lack of exposure to other books about nature and our world, but even if it's a topic you've read before, I highly recommend THE GLOBAL FOREST. Trees are the foundation for so much life, yet in everyday education, we learn so little about them. With this book, a little chemistry knowledge, and a bit of open-mindedness, you could learn about the wonders o ...more
Clivemichael
Speaking from a primarily northern temperate perspective. Reads like a slightly pretentious text book, including some fascinating and excellent information; full of complex scientific terms (sometimes with explanation/definition).The writing is repetitive, choppy and stilted in flowery, new agey personified prose that adds little to the intelligence.
"...The words that were spoken were not wasted. They arose afresh from thought into a tradition of dance and meditation. The silence of the contine
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Molly
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is my book. My essential backpacking book. The words taste wonderful as I read them and the make me actually feel closer to the earth. This is an amazing blending of art and all about the beauty and love in trees. Each of the stories in this book are precious and inspiring and can easily stand on their own. This book both enlightens you and burdens you with the incredible responsibility you have as a steward of the tree kingdom. The author's scientific background shines through while she de ...more
Briankiwi
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm a treehugger with the best of them, but this book didn't do it for me. Too many wild assertions (the most egregious of which is the claim that (p37) "by holding a green walnut, J. nigra, a young child will receive protection from early childhood leukemia" (show me the data, please) and sloppy use of language (e.g. p81 "Some of these fungi have a sexual organ, which is identical to the male penis in full-blown erection." Really??) It is a shame, because there WERE interesting snippets of info ...more
Sally
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Global Forest has to have been the most beautiful book I read in 2010 and probably beyond. Beresford-Kroeger has melded the mythical and scientific aspects of North American forest trees in her lyrical, loosely linked essays on the various dominant species in the North American woodlands.

This is a perfect introduction to the world of forests in which Beresford-Kroeger gives clear science based insights into the way in which species survive and interconnect. Her words are inspired and not a litt
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Sylvia Walker
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've been reading this book slowly, as each of the 40 essays read like poetry, and I wanted to think about each one before going on to the next. The author is a botanist and biochemist, as well as a brilliant writer, and she explores all of the things that trees and forests as communities do, in very accessible language. My favorite essay was "The Forest, the Fairy and the Child." The essays show how essential forests are to our own well-being.
Henning Koch
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The great thing about knowledge is that it adds a new perspective on the world. I guarantee that anyone who reads this book will want to go out and plant some black walnut saplings, or find out about the carrier pigeon.
Beresford-Kroeger, in short, beautifully imagined chapters, adds to our understanding of what we should be doing on this planet, and... above all... what it means to be alive.
Tristan
Jun 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's a collection of 40 short beautifully written stories, about the necessity for forests, and how they are beneficial, from both a scientific and cultural points of view. I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone. The information is certainly priceless, and more people need to be informed of the importance of balance.
Paula Koneazny
Best read in an altered state or perhaps its the book itself that induces an altered state. Fascinating melange of science and story. The tree (the global forest) as essential (yes, we know this), primary & primordial. The tree as food producer, healer, and life-sustainer. Beresford-Kroeger's is a unique & important voice. ...more
Catriona
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
It's interesting, doesn't really seem to be fact-based as many of the statements are not backed up but merely said as fact. Example: on page 37 she states that ""simply by holding a green walnut...a young child will receive protection from early childhood leukemia." I am very happy to believe in the benefits of trees but some of the statements are way too general to be believable.
Tom O'Keefe
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A beautiful look at the world of trees. In parts very technical and scientific in nature, and at others very poetic and flowing prose, this book is a unique look at the global community that is the trees of the forest and also the challenges that we as a species face by tearing them down. Easy to read and very informative. Highly recommend to all nature lovers.
Rwildfon
Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Diana Beresford-Kroeger is absolutely lyrical in writing about her favorite subject - plants and trees. The chemistry of the earth is in Beresford-Kroeger's blood. She is a modern scientist with ancient wisdom. We should listen to her,carefully.
Petar
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
A collection of essays advocating the preservation of indigenous trees and plants (This is a good thing). The author is quite knowledgable, and posits some interesting thoughts, but a bit much with the scientific jargon. Furthermore, the book lacked cohesion, each essay a seemingly random thought.
Kathy
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
Poetically written. The short chapters are easy to read. She has caused me to think of trees in ways that I had not before. A real gem.
Woodsie
Dec 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
Gorgeously written my ass.
Erica
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buy-this-for-me
There's a chance you might buy this book for me.
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DIANA BERESFORD-KROEGER, a botanist, medical biochemist and self-defined "renegade scientist," brings together ethnobotany, horticulture, spirituality and alternative medicine to reveal a path toward better stewardship of the natural world. Diana's latest book is called The Sweetness of a Simple Life. A precise and poetic writer steeped in Gaelic storytelling traditions gathered from her childhood ...more

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