Wednesday, June 16, 2021

ARC Review: The Heartbeat of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst

Title: The Heartbeat of Trees
Series: n/a
Author: Peter Wohlleben
Translator: Jane Billinghurst
Source/Format: Publisher; ARC

More Details: Nonfiction; Science
Publisher/Publication Date: Greystone Books; June 1, 2021

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Synopsis from Goodreads...
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees

A powerful return to the forest, where trees have heartbeats and roots are like brains that extend underground. Where the color green calms us, and the forest sharpens our senses. In The Heartbeat of Trees, renowned forester Peter Wohlleben draws on new scientific discoveries to show how humans are deeply connected to the natural world. In an era of cell phone addiction, climate change, and urban life, many of us fear we've lost our connection to nature-but Peter Wohlleben is convinced that age-old ties linking humans to the forest remain alive and intact. Drawing on science and cutting-edge research, The Heartbeat of Trees reveals the profound interactions humans can have with nature, exploring: the language of the forest, the consciousness of plants, and the eroding boundary between flora and fauna. A perfect book to take with you into the woods, The Heartbeat of Trees shares how to see, feel, smell, hear, and even taste the forest.

One of my most anticipated reads of 2021 was The Heartbeat of Trees. I’ve had my eye on Wohlleben’s other books like The Hidden Life of Trees and The Secret Wisdom of Nature, which I haven’t gotten around to yet. However, that said, I had a chance to read an early copy of The Heartbeat of Trees, and it was a thoroughly engaging read and an incredibly fascinating look at trees. 

Did you know about the sleep behavior studies done on trees? Well, neither did I. There’s much on the subject of trees I had never come across in most of the other nature/environment related books I’ve read prior to The Heartbeat of Trees. Wohlleben concisely wrote about the subject while also making it an engaging and complete narrative, which incorporated personal knowledge and the trips he made—for conservation/forest protection efforts—as well as citing many different studies. The Heartbeat of Trees is, toward the beginning, a look at the ways a person’s senses—like touch, taste, smell, and sight—can interact with the natural landscape around them. While later on, during my favorite parts of the book, Wohlleben dug his heels into the topic and delved into the science behind what makes a tree a tree, the distinction between the different kinds of forests (old-growth and plantation), and the ecosystems that thrive in those environments. The book stressed how delicate those environments were—how long they took to develop—and made a connection between global warming and the state of forests, as well as the strain put on forests by the lumber industry.

There are many passages I would have quoted in this review—as there were many quotable sections—alas my copy of the book is an ARC. Needless to say, The Heartbeat of Trees was an excellent introduction to the subject, and I highly recommend it.

About the author...

Peter Wohlleben spent over twenty years working for the forestry commission in Germany before leaving to put his ideas of ecology into practice. He now runs an environmentally-friendly woodland in Germany, where he is working for the return of primeval forests. He is the author of numerous books about trees.

About the translator...

Jane Billinghurst’s career has been in book publishing in the UK, the US, and Canada, as an editor, publisher, writer, and translator. She is the translator of the international bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees by German forester Peter Wohlleben.


Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by the publisher (Greystone Books) for this review, thank you!

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