This mammoth of a book is a thoroughly researched and riveting exploration of the vast and complex forest ecosystems across our planet – how they work, their similarities and differences and why they are so important to humanity. It’s a massive undertaking that covers the the different types of forests found on earth, including the vast boreal forest of the north, the temperate forests of North America, Asia, and Europe, the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, Africa, India and Asia, and the savannahs of Africa, South America and India.
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Author: Herman Shugart et al.
Format: hardcover, 400 pages
The 12 chapters of this book are amply illustrated with photographs, illustrations, charts and maps and written in a style that is easy to understand. The chapter on “Mapping the Forests of the World”, for example, a topic that could be as dry as sawdust, is interesting, informative and (dare I say) exciting. I found the chapter on “Climate Change and Forests”, which describes how forest influence climate and how a changing climate is impacting the productivity and distribution of forests especially insightful.
This isn’t a book that you need to read in a linear fashion as each chapter stands on it’s own. Given the environmental changes taking place across our planet right now – record breaking summer temperatures across the globe, more widespread forest fires than ever before, disappearing glaciers, unprecedented destruction of the tropical rain forests – this is a book that will help you better understand the critical role that forests play in sustaining life as we know it, and how important it is to preserve our forest heritage.