cover of book

Trees, Woods and Forests: A Social and Cultural History
by Charles Watkins
Reaktion Books, 2014
Paper: 978-1-78023-664-3 | Cloth: 978-1-78023-373-4 | eISBN: 978-1-78023-415-1
Library of Congress Classification SD131.W38 2014
Dewey Decimal Classification 333.7509

Forests—and the trees within them—have always been a central resource for the development of technology, culture, and the expansion of humans as a species. Examining and challenging our historical and modern attitudes toward wooded environments, this engaging book explores how our understanding of forests has transformed in recent years and how it fits in our continuing anxiety about our impact on the natural world.
            Drawing on the most recent work of historians, ecologist geographers, botanists, and forestry professionals, Charles Watkins reveals how established ideas about trees—such as the spread of continuous dense forests across the whole of Europe after the Ice Age—have been questioned and even overturned by archaeological and historical research. He shows how concern over woodland loss in Europe is not well founded—especially while tropical forests elsewhere continue to be cleared—and he unpicks the variety of values and meanings different societies have ascribed to the arboreal. Altogether, he provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary overview of humankind’s interaction with this abused but valuable resource.

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