"Beautifully written, full of scenes those of us who live in and love the forests of the northeast will recognize immediately."
How to Love a Forest
The Bittersweet Work of Tending a Changing World
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Available September 10, 2024
A tender, fearless debut by a forester writing in the tradition of Suzanne Simard, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Robert Macfarlane.
Only those who love trees should cut them, writes forester Ethan Tapper. In How to Love a Forest, he asks what it means to live in a time in which ecosystems are in retreat and extinctions rattle the bones of the earth. How do we respond to the harmful legacies of the past? How do we use our species' incredible power to heal rather than to harm?
Tapper walks us through the fragile and resilient community that is a forest. He introduces us to wolf trees and spring ephemerals, and to the mysterious creatures of the rhizosphere and the necrosphere. He helps us reimagine what forests are and what it means to care for them. This world, Tapper writes, is degraded by people who do too much and by those who do nothing. As the ecosystems that sustain all life struggle, we straddle two worlds: a status quo that treats them as commodities and opposing claims that the only true expression of love for the natural world is to leave it alone.
Proffering a more complex vision, Tapper argues that the actions we must take to protect ecosystems are often counterintuitive, uncomfortable, even heartbreaking. With striking prose, he shows how bittersweet acts--like loving deer and hunting them, loving trees and felling them--can be expressions of compassion. Tapper weaves a new land ethic for the modern world, reminding us that what is simple is rarely true, and what is necessary is rarely easy.