Favourite books about trees

The rains are returning to the West Coast, “like a wet rag on a salad,” as Tom Robbins put it in Another Roadside Attraction. It’s a perfect time to curl up in front of the wood stove with a cup of tea and a book about the natural world.

I’ve put together a list of my favourite books about trees and forests. Many of them proved invaluable while I was working on my book, Tracking Giants: Big Trees, Tiny Triumphs, and Misadventures in the Forest.

I’ve also offered suggestions for supplementary reading about our place in the natural world, and guides to local trees (Pacific Northwest region).

Books that helped with the writing process:

  • The Wild Trees by Richard Preston
  • The Legacy of Luna by Julia Butterly Hill
  • Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
  • Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill
  • The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant
  • Big Lonely Doug by Harley Rustad
  • Tree by Matthew Battles
  • The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
  • The Sweetness of a Simple Life by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
  • To Speak for the Trees by Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Autumn and winter are a great time to get out into the woods and see conifers draped in moss or snow, or appreciate the shapes of deciduous tree trunks without their leaves. Look into tree guides for your region.

Here are the books that guide me in my trips around the Pacific Northwest/southwestern British Columbia:

  • Northwest Trees by Stephen F. Arno and Ramona P. Hammerly
  • Vancouver Tree Book by David Tracey
  • Field Guide to Trees—Western Region by National Audubon Society
  • Legacy of Trees by Nina Shoroplova
  • Trees of Vancouver by Gerald B. Straley
  • Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast by Robert Van Pelt
  • Giant Trees of Western America and the World by Al Carder
  • Tree Book by the BC Government
  • Hiking Guide to the Big Trees of Southwestern British Columbia by Randy Stoltmann
  • Hiking the Ancient Forests of British Columbia and Washington by Randy Stoltmann

Trees don’t grow alone, and neither do books or authors. Supplement your reading with these books that consider our place in the natural world:

  • Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear
  • How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
  • The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry
  • The Once and Future World by J.B. MacKinnon
  • The Environmentalist’s Dilemma by Arno Kopecky
  • Fire Season by Philip Connors
  • The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
  • Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris

Happy reading, dendrophile!

Credit: Sydney Woodward/Niamh Studio

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