Trees in Trouble: Wildfires, Infestations, and Climate Change

Daniel Mathews (Author)


A troubling story of the devastating and compounding effects of climate change in the Western and Rocky Mountain states, told through in-depth reportage and conversations with ecologists, professional forest managers, park service scientists, burn boss, activists, and more.

Climate change manifests in many ways across North America, but few as dramatic as the attacks on our western pine forests. In Trees in Trouble, Daniel Mathews tells the urgent story of this loss, accompanying burn crews and forest ecologists as they study the myriad risk factors and refine techniques for saving this important, limited resource.

Mathews transports the reader from the exquisitely aromatic haze of ponderosa and Jeffrey pine groves to the fantastic gnarls and whorls of five-thousand-year-old bristlecone pines, from genetic test nurseries where white pine seedlings are deliberately infected with their mortal enemy to the hottest megafire sites and neighborhoods leveled by fire tornadoes or ember blizzards.

Scrupulously researched, Trees in Trouble not only explores the devastating ripple effects of climate change, but also introduces us to the people devoting their lives to saving our forests. Mathews also offers hope: a new approach to managing western pine forests is underway. Trees in Trouble explores how we might succeed in sustaining our forests through the challenging transition to a new environment.

Product Details

$26.00  $23.92
Counterpoint LLC
Publish Date
April 07, 2020
6.0 X 1.3 X 9.1 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

DANIEL MATHEWS is the author of Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains, Rocky Mountain Natural History, and Cascade-Olympic Natural History. During a career of writing about the natural history of western North America, he has backpacked far and wide, watched for fires from Desolation Peak Lookout, witnessed a forty-inch-thick fir crash onto his family's house in a storm, and lived for several years in a forest cabin without electricity, heating with firewood and writing by kerosene lamp. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


Praise for Trees in Trouble

Chicago Review of Books, 1 of 10 Must-Read Books for This Month

"The appeal of Mathews' evaluation of these valuable conifer forests may skew slightly to the more scientifically minded reader, yet his deeply personal connection to the land and its majestic trees makes this equally suitable for any tree lover and everyone concerned about the state of the planet." --Booklist

"A walk in the woods with an environmental journalist and natural-history writer reveals that the forested world is in grave danger . . . His book sounds a timely warning to pay more heed to the health of the woodlands. Thoughtful environmental reportage suggesting that the fate of trees is the fate of all life." --Kirkus Reviews

"Natural historian Mathews vividly relates the complex environmental situation facing America's western pine forests in this fascinating account . . . Eco-conscious readers, even those unversed in this seemingly niche subject, will be intrigued and enlightened by Mathews's thoughtful work." --Publishers Weekly

"Lays out challenges facing today's pine forests that inspire new respect for their strength and resilience--and for the dilemma they're in." --Amy Wang, The Oregonian

"Trees in Trouble, the work of a self-avowed tree lover, is no environmentalist screed. Daniel Mathews has written a comprehensive, deeply informed, and personally anguished call of alarm about the great conifer forests of the dry American West. He takes you to the sites around the region where scientists have been collecting data and building a grave prognosis: some major forests are dead, some dying, many in danger. The fires grow more intense every year. Yes, global warming has a hand in it, but the tragically misguided management practices of the twentieth century bear most of the blame. There is hope, says Mathews--you can't hang out with old trees and not feel hope--but the strong medicine our forests need will not please aesthetes or wilderness purists. It involves preempting fierce fires with cooler ones and considerable work with chain saws. Trees in Trouble is crucial reading for anyone who cares about the Mountain West." --John Daniel, author of The Trail Home and Rogue River Journal

"Mathews takes us on a journey through the challenged and treasured forests of the American West, exploring the natural and unnatural forces of fire, destruction, and regrowth. In a careful blend of complex science in welcoming prose and urgent reportage, Trees in Trouble unveils the fraught future of our forests in a warming world and the suite of actions required to chart a different course." --Lauren E. Oakes, author of In Search of the Canary Tree

Praise for Natural History of Pacific Northwest Mountains

"This book will speak to anyone who loves nature. . . . This expanded and updated third edition classic has everything you could possibly want to know about the plants, animals, geology, climate and yes, fungi, of the Pacific Northwest mountains." --The Oregonian

"Just in time for spring hiking, Timber Press has a new field guide, Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains. Author Daniel Mathews covers the plants, animals and geology of the Cascades, Olympics and other mountain ranges; his text is accompanied by 800 color photographs." --OregonLive

"A love poem to the creatures that inhabit the mountains and rivers of Washington, coastal Oregon, and southwestern British Columbia. This book is much more than just a field guide; it;s a series of lessons in how to pay attention to the amazing diversity of the natural world." --Douglasia