The Heartbeat of Trees: Embracing Our Ancient Bond with Forests and Nature

Greystone. Jun 2021. 264p. ISBN 9781771646895. $26.95. NAT HIST
The best selling author of The Hidden Life of Trees revisits a favorite subject. While Hidden Life focused on arboreal wonders, Wohlleben’s new book (originally published in Germany in 2019) is as much about human life as it is about trees. Humanity’s bond with nature has not been severed, Wohlleben claims, just forgotten. In his trademark conversational style, he explains why we feel good around trees and how, by opening our senses, we can benefit from them. The book’s rambling form, appropriately, is like a walk in the woods: 31 short chapters or essays cover diverse topics, including our historical connections to trees, trees’ electrical fields, forest bathing, invasive species, climate change, and more. Along the way, Wohlleben takes some jabs at conservative science, industrial forestry, and greenwashing in its many guises. He urges hope, not despair, about our environmental malaise, and closes with a message: laws and regulations won’t save our forest friends, but we can, if only we can reconnect with nature through empathy.
VERDICT Finding “fascinating phenomena all over the place,” Wohlleben sticks with the formula that made his earlier work so popular. This latest book will appeal to fans of popular science and anyone curious about natural history.
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