The Wild Trees

The Wild Trees

A Story of Passion and Daring

eBook - 2007
Average Rating:
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Random House, Inc.
Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored.

The canopy voyagers are young–just college students when they start their quest–and they share a passion for these trees, persevering in spite of sometimes crushing personal obstacles and failings. They take big risks, they ignore common wisdom (such as the notion that there’s nothing left to discover in North America), and they even make love in hammocks stretched between branches three hundred feet in the air.

The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems that have fused and formed flying buttresses, sometimes carved into blackened chambers, hollowed out by fire, called “fire caves.” Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life that is unknown to science. Humans move through the deep canopy suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, knowing that the price of a small mistake can be a plunge to one’s death.

Preston’s account of this amazing world, by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, is an adventure story told in novelistic detail by a master of nonfiction narrative. The author shares his protagonists’ passion for tall trees, and he mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to tell the story in The Wild Trees–the story of the fate of the world’s most splendid forests and of the imperiled biosphere itself.


From the Hardcover edition.

Baker & Taylor
Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the tallest organisms the world has ever sustained--the coast redwood trees. 96% of the ancient redwood forests have been logged, but the fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. Writer Preston unfolds thestory of the daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored. The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems, sometimes hollowed out by fire. Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life unknown to science.--From publisher description.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2007
ISBN: 9781588366030
1588366030
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 294 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm

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SALeav10
Jul 18, 2017

A tale of the scientists/non-scientists who discovered, mapped and studied the canopy of the remaining NW Redwood forests. One learns about the redwood trees, the whole ecosystem in the canopy of these trees and how very important these trees are to the Earth. Very easy read for any person. After seeing the redwoods from the ground, now can appreciate them even more as living beings.

g
gypsytwilight
Feb 17, 2016

Very enjoyable read. Really inspires you to appreciate the world around you.

m
Magoome
Jul 01, 2015

A fabulous book about one of natures finest trees. I would recommend this to all tree and nature lovers. Simply fascinating. I must visit the redwoods again soon!

s
sess430
Jan 27, 2015

This story is about a couple of tree canopy biologists and a hobbyist who was obsessed with the search for the world's tallest known tree - a coast redwood tree in California. The author describes their personal lives in some detail as well as giving detailed information about the mechanics- and danger- of climbing trees over 360 feet tall. I was surprised to learn there was so much unexplored terrain as of 1991.

a
ACatNamedTofu
Sep 19, 2014

Wish I would've written it. This is a good one.

KCLSLibsRecommend Mar 19, 2014

A fascinating account of tall tree enthusiasts and scientists who climb and study some of the world’s biggest trees, primarily the Giant Sequoia. A ‘wild tree’ is one that has not been climbed nor studied. Author Richard Preston (a tree enthusiast himself) follows the work of those few who have developed and mastered climbing techniques that makes study of these amazing trees possible. A wonderful addition to the natural history of the pacific coast, reads like an adventure novel.

hcallahan Jul 12, 2012

This was really fun to read. Preston knows how to write a page-turner. The characters he describes are colorful, as are their activities. Finally, there is actually a good amount of forest science in the book. Highly recommended.

c
cr421
Sep 14, 2011

possibly the best book I've read in years. Great subject, great writing and mostly it makes me want to go climb trees. Preston develops his subject so well and the book is so readable that it's hard to put it down and when you do, you find yourself wanting more. Off to the Redwoods I go.......

s
scottbdr
Sep 13, 2011

Read this during our visit to the Redwoods. Highly recommended if you are going to visit the bit trees since it really gives you a better idea about what they are all about.

e
Elizabeth_Leboe
Feb 09, 2011

I adored this book; it transported me to the magical land of huge, tall trees and made it feel like the western Sequoia forests were enchanted and inhabited by quirky, passionate people.

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