Dying of the Trees: The Pandemic in America's Forests

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Most of us remember the magic of a certain forest, or a favorite tree. Our children, says writer and conservationist Charles E. Little, probably won't. The forests are declining. The trees are dying. Little shows how logging in the Northwest is far from the whole story, how virtually everywhere in this country our trees are mortally afflicted - even before they are cut. From the "sugarbush" of Vermont and the dogwoods of Maryland's Catoctin mountains to the forests of the "hollows" in Applachia, the oaks and ...
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Overview

Most of us remember the magic of a certain forest, or a favorite tree. Our children, says writer and conservationist Charles E. Little, probably won't. The forests are declining. The trees are dying. Little shows how logging in the Northwest is far from the whole story, how virtually everywhere in this country our trees are mortally afflicted - even before they are cut. From the "sugarbush" of Vermont and the dogwoods of Maryland's Catoctin mountains to the forests of the "hollows" in Applachia, the oaks and aspens of northern Michigan, and the mountainsides and deserts of the West, a whole range of human-caused maladies - from fatal ozone, ultraviolet rays, and acid rain to the disastrous aftermath of clear-cutting - has brought tree death and forest decline in its wake. In his journeys to America's forests and woodlands, Little exhaustively explores this phenomenon with scientists, government officials, and citizen leaders and recounts how they have responded (and in many cases failed to respond) to this threat to global ecological balance.

From the sugarbush of Vermont and the dogwoods of Maryland to the hollows in Appalachia and the mountainsides of the West, a whole range of human-caused maladies--acid rain, ultraviolet rays, and other eco-hazards--has been the cause of major forest decline. Little explores the phenomenon with scientists and government officials, and recounts their respondes to this threat to global ecological balance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a thoroughly researched book, Little (Hope for the Land) documents the depressing state of U.S. forests. Individual trees are dying at unprecedented rates, numerous woody species are at risk of extinction and the country's forests are disappearing as intact ecosystems. The devastation stretches across the land and is eerily similar to losses observed in Europe. Although the immediate cause of death varies, Little and the numerous ecologists and foresters whom he interviewed argue convincingly that the best explanation is ultimately the environmental havoc humans have wrought. Acid rain, heavy metal contamination, smog, increased ultraviolet rays streaming through the growing hole in the ozone layer and atrocious management of forests-from clear-cutting to fire suppression-have so weakened individual trees, as well as ecosystems, that once-routine pests may now be responsible for destruction on an unprecedented scale. This book should significantly alter the way we think about our relationship to the natural world. (Aug.)
Booknews
Environmentalist and journalist Charles Little argues that the present-day phenomenon of widespread tree death in America has less to do with normal rhythms of decline and regeneration than it has to do with the accumulated consequences of some 150 years of headlong economic development and industrial expansion. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Donna Seaman
Caught as we are in a spell of denial and backlash, we're told that environmental concerns have been greatly exaggerated and we no longer need all those pesky laws and regulations. Not so fast says environmental journalist Little, everything is not okay--trees are dying all over the U.S. Little presents the terrible facts about such calamities as the extinction of the eastern dogwood, the toll acid rain has taken on trees from Vermont to North Carolina, and the human-caused plague killing California's ponderosa pine. He also explains how logging and fire prevention alter the composition of forests and lead to such fatal imbalances as the massive increases in regional populations of the tree-killing gypsy moth. Little traces the origins of all these forms of tree death to 150 years of full-throttle industrialization and then firmly reminds us that trees are essential to life on earth as we hope to live it. Sobering, responsible, and eloquent, this is an important book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670841356
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.99 (d)

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