Trees: Their Natural History

Peter A. Thomas (Author)

Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
June 16, 2014
6.8 X 9.6 X 0.8 inches | 1.8 pounds

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About the Author

Peter A. Thomas is senior lecturer in environmental science at Keele University, UK and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada and a Bullard Fellow at Harvard University, USA. He has a PhD in forest fire ecology from the University of New Brunswick, Canada and has been involved in a number of fire research projects since in Canada and the USA. His teaching encompasses a wide range of tree and woodland related topics including fire behaviour and fire ecology, and he recently received an Excellence in Teaching Award from Keele University. He has travelled extensively around the world investigating burnt forests; the information and perspective gained informs his teaching, writing and research. His research interests focus on tree ecology and forest fires. He is the author of Trees: Their Natural History and Ecology of Woodlands and Forests both published by Cambridge University Press.


"A thoughtful and informative book, logically and sequentially set out for anyone with an interest in trees, whether professional or amateur. The reader is guided through the physiological and structural characteristics of the tree, through its life cycle from seed to antiquity and finally to an exploration of the relationship between trees and people ... The text, which flows smoothly with academic rigour, succeeds in communicating in an easy to read fashion for both academic and the non academic. Each section is punctuated with interesting and useful snippets of information from around the world related to the specific chapter topic being discussed and each chapter can be read independently of the others ... The text is well supported by excellent photographs and beautifully drawn graphics which enhance and clarify the subject matter throughout the book ... It is the combination of all the factors above which makes this book so useful and interesting."
Keith Sacre, Barcham Trees
"Peter Thomas has a rare ability to communicate complex biological processes in an accessible way while offering the understanding of a real expert. The first edition succeeded in the author's aim of bringing together a dispersed literature on the natural history of trees. This edition expands and updates the first edition with recent insights into the biology and ecology of trees and their relationship to us. I consider it to be essential reading for all those with a personal or professional interest in trees and am convinced every reader will gain a deeper understanding of trees from the rich content of this book. Even if you are only casually interested in trees, buy it, read it and be inspired by their fascinating life!"
Andrew Hirons, Myerscough College
"I look forward to second editions because there is always a synthesis of more literature and stronger evidence for hypotheses. This volume lives up to the highest of expectations. It is an encyclopedia of neat ideas on the features of trees. The photography and choice of figures and tables add to the clarity of explanations. The concluding chapter resonates with current societal issues of environmentalism, nature attention deficit, and back-to-nature movements ... This contribution speaks to a wide readership of gardeners, students, and naturalists. Dr Thomas is a master communicator in melding the topic of trees into the everyday experiences of the reader. He personalizes science ... This book is like visiting a botanical garden with a guide who has travelled the world; and Dr Thomas has travelled the world to find these gems of information. After reading this book the reader will no longer look at a tree with indifference."
Ross W. Wein, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta
"The best general work on trees to come out in 2014 ... this book offers fascinating insights and can be usefully read by anyone, student, amateur or professional, and should be on any reading list."
Pro Arb Magazine
"The much-abused term "well-written" sits very comfortably here; you could buy this book for an aspiring young biologist, a relative with an interest in trees, your local landscape architect or planner ... If you bought the first edition, this one is newer and better. If you didn't buy it last time, think again."
Alan Crowden, Bulletin, British Ecological Society