Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century-Old Oak

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Product Details

$27.00  $25.11
Bloomsbury USA
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.3 X 0.9 inches | 0.86 pounds

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About the Author

Lynda V. Mapes is the environmental reporter for the Seattle Times. She researched and wrote Witness Tree while a Knight Fellow in science journalism at MIT and a Bullard Fellow in forest research in residence with her oak at the Harvard Forest. This is her fourth book. She lives in Seattle. www.lyndavmapes.com


Lynda V. Mapes adopts a narrower lens but is equally ambitious in Witness Tree, which gets at sweeping ideas by looking at one century-old oak tree in Massachusetts. Among many other subjects--forest regeneration, acorn production, pollen records--Mapes has plenty to say about our early spring(s). 'Climate change, the trees, streams, and puddles, and birds, bugs, and frogs, attest, is not a matter of opinion or belief, ' she writes. 'It is an observable fact.' - New York Times Book Review

The author makes a strong case for why the future depends on the health of the tree's intricate ecological system and the larger environment of which it is part. She incorporates conversations with scientists and woodland specialists and ably weaves their research into her larger chronicle of change and adaptation. - The Wall Street Journal, The Best Books of 2017 About Healthy Aging

A meticulously, beautifully layered portrayal of vulnerability and loss, renewal and hope, this extensively researched yet deeply personal book is a timely call to bear witness and to act in an age of climate-change denial. - starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Mapes writes of her time in the woods with such genuine wonder and delight that what emerges is an unlikely love story about a reporter and a tree . . . What makes Witness Tree such an irresistible read is Mapes's love of language combined with a great talent at rendering nerdy information readable. - The Los Angeles Review of Books

For those with an abiding fondness for New England farmsteads and woodlots, Mapes offers up literary comfort food, as welcome as hot cocoa on a chilly day . . . To walk with Mapes through these pages is not only to enjoy the charm of rural New England, but also to experience the global effects of our civilization--for better and for worse--on an intimate scale. - Natural History Magazine

The Harvard Forest is a center for the scientific study of climate change, but also--as this deep book makes clear-- for what you might call the philosophic and historical inquiry that we should be making into this most crucial of topics. Lynda Mapes has managed to find a new and intriguing way into this question, and her book will be read with great profit by a great many. - Bill McKibben, author EAARTH: MAKING A LIFE ON A TOUGH NEW PLANET

Mapes chronicles how this 'witness tree' both mirrors and is shaped by our changing, warming world. Lyrical, engaging, and wise, Mapes invites us to understand trees as individuals rather than a collective forest. This is compelling storytelling and natural history that, like our elder trees, is both enduring and inspiring. - Brenda Peterson, Brenda Peterson, WOLF NATION: THE LIFE, DEATH, AND RETURN OF WILD AMERICAN WOLVES

Mapes' vivid language immerses us in the grand world of one esteemed red oak. Witness Tree is a splendid story that enriches our view of nature and ourselves. - David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé, authors, THE HIDDEN HALF OF NATURE