A story that fills us with wonder: the tree keeps its soul and steals our hearts'
Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees
All across the planet, trees literally hold the world together. This is the awe-inspiring biography of a single tree, from the moment the seed is released from its cone until, more than five hundred years later, it lies on the forest floor as a nurse log, giving life to ferns, mosses and hemlocks, even as its own life is ending.
David Suzuki and Wayne Grady describe in lyrical detail the dramatic origins of a Douglas fir, which begins its life with a burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen. They uncover its amazing resilience, and also its vulnerability across its long life in the forest. The tree's pivotal role in making life possible for the creatures around it—including human beings—is lovingly explored.
'Read Tree. It will fill you with wonder, magic and awe.'
Globe and Mail
'From the tiny seed of a single Douglas-fir, David Suzuki and Wayne Grady have grown a wonderful book, learned but lovely, thorough but terse. It's as big as all life.'
David Quammen, author of The Tangled Tree
Visitors to the Pacific Northwest often find themselves awed by the size of the trees, especially the grand and ubiquitous "Douglas-fir." In this slight, lovely book, environmentalist Suzuki (The Sacred Balance) and Grady (The Bone Museum) tell the tale of one Douglas-fir tree that lived for more than five centuries ("Around the time its seed was soaking in the sunshine... the Aztec Empire was building its capital city"). Woven into the narrative is a history of botany, the study of which developed during the tree's life (a digression about the Big Bang and the formation of organic molecules feels unnecessary, though). Facts about the species awe: old Douglas-firs can have 12-inch thick fireproof bark, and it can take 36 hours for water to get from the roots to the canopy. "If left alone," write the authors, "our tree would grow forever." Bateman's misty drawings offer portraits of the tree's companions--woodpeckers, eagles, mice, ferns--whose lives are more fleeting. Suzuki and Grady lament the loss of old-growth forests and their biodiversity, showing how each tree is part of a massive, interconnected web of organisms including fungi, birds and insects. This book is both a touching look at a single tree and an articulate testimony to nature's cyclic power. 13 b&w illus.