A big tree can seem monolithic and solitary — several armspans of girth, a towering crown. Trees, though, often live in community. Through a network of roots and fungal threads, they can warn each other of danger and even feed a lopped stump. They nourish and house countless creatures, which nourish them in turn. Trees, in other words, embody the power of relationships to sustain life. And forming a relationship with trees, two books by first-time authors suggest, can lead people to help do the same on a grand scale — from stumping on behalf of old-growth temperate rainforests to fighting climate change.
Journalist Harley Rustad centers his exploration of this theme on an unlikely catalyst: a single logger meeting a single Douglas fir. Dennis Cronin was marking a grove for harvest in 2011 when he came upon the giant, 217 feet tall. On impulse, he wrapped it with a ribbon that spared it as the rest of the trees fell. So was born Big Lonely Doug, a nickname that Rustad adopts as the title of his book — a sweeping natural and human history of logging on Canada’s Vancouver Island, and the movement to save its vastly diminished woods. [Read more…]