Conservationist Reid and biologist Lovejoy (
Biodiversity and Climate Change) convincingly argue in this trenchant work that preserving Earth’s five megaforests is vital to stop climate change. The authors cite studies that suggest “stopping tropical deforestation would reduce global emissions by 16 to 19 percent,” and interview activists, scientists, and Indigenous people who are researching the impact of deforestation activities such as logging and mining. In Russia, they tour the Taiga forest—the world’s largest—and speak to a botanist and an ecologist who mapped the world’s intact forests. In the Congo, they visit a research team observing the cohabitation habits of gorillas and chimps, and in New Guinea, they visit Yunus Yumte, who leads an organization that “helps Indigenous peoples keep their livelihoods and spiritual lives entwined with nature.” The authors depict the flora and fauna of these far-flung locations in vivid descriptions that chart how each species is part of a vast ecosystem, and make a strong case for the inherent value of the plants, animals, and people that live in the megaforests. This clarion call should have a spot on the shelves of climate-minded readers. Photos. (Mar.)
"Nothing could be more important than saving the world’s last remaining forests, and no one could make a more eloquent case for this than John Reid and Thomas Lovejoy.
Ever Green is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of life."
"The authors expertly and enthusiastically illuminate the intricately webbed fecundity of these vast forests.... With stunning photographs, lively anecdotes, fresh perspectives, spirited prose, and realistic and just solutions, this is deeply informative and inspiring forest advocacy."
"In the preservation of the remaining great forest landscapes of the world lies the very hope and perhaps the only hope of humanity to find a new way of living on this planet.…
Ever Green itself is a prayer for the well-being of the earth."
"John Reid and Thomas Lovejoy make clear that the only way the world can prevent the worst of the coming climate disaster is by preserving and restoring its remaining megaforests.…
Ever Green is a blueprint for saving megaforests, and saving ourselves."
"A very clear-eyed, practical and persuasive plan for how to save these forests, and maybe the rest of us in the process."
The Ezra Klein Show - Richard Powers
"Five giant forests—Amazon, Congo, New Guinea, and two taigas—holding carbon, diverse life, and the fate of the planet. This is a profoundly important, fresh-minded, deftly written, and constructive book. Therefore it’s also thrilling."
"John Reid and Thomas Lovejoy’s compelling and crucial narrative takes us to the astonishing intact cores of these lungs of our planet, these libraries of life that harbor diverse Indigenous peoples and multitudinous other-than-human beings. That so much remains is a welcome and uplifting revelation."
Conservationist and economist Reid and the late biologist/ecologist Lovejoy (1941–2021) present a compelling argument for conserving the last five megaforests of the world: the two boreal forests of North America and Russia as well as megaforests located in New Guinea, the Congo, and the Amazon. Megaforests provide intact forest landscapes: areas of at least 500 square kilometers that are free of roads, power lines, mines, cities, and industrial farms. While termed megaforests, these lands contain other types of landscapes, such as wetlands, rivers, and mountaintops. Through this accessible narrative, readers get an up-close view of these different forests, including the Indigenous people who live there and the scientists who are working to preserve these areas. The argument for the preservation of these important places is in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recommendation that forest loss needs to stop completely by 2030. Preserving these unique megaforests will be crucial to stopping climate change.
VERDICT This absorbing book provides an in-depth treatment of these boreal and tropical forests and why their preservation is a crucial step to mitigate climate change. —Diana Hartle
Why saving the world’s remaining megaforests is crucial to saving the planet.
In this captivating book, Reid and Lovejoy take readers on a journey through the five remaining megaforests—New Guinea, the Congo, the Amazon, the North American boreal zone, and the taiga—vividly describing each region’s native plants and animals as well as their diverse Indigenous populations and cultures. “Megaforests hold staggering human diversity,” write the authors. “Over a quarter of Earth’s languages are spoken in the world’s largest woodlands.” Throughout, the authors make consistently compelling arguments about the importance of saving these regions—not just for the flora and fauna, but for the human denizens. “Over 10 percent of intact forest landscapes were fragmented or lost between 2000 and 2016,” they write. Saving intact forests is vital to combatting rising global temperatures and “once-in-a-century” fires, droughts, floods, and storms that now occur frequently. Reid and Lovejoy point out that one of the primary benefits of megaforests is their ability to remove massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The plants in these regions are also used by Native peoples for household items, clothing, and medicine. In order for megaforest conservation to work, limiting roads is the most important factor, as the majority of deforestation occurs near roads and navigable waterways. In their call to action, the authors offer feasible methods to make a difference, refreshingly noting that “yes, our individual choices matter.” Sending a message from the inhabitants of the regions, the authors also invite readers to “Go see a big forest! The people who live there want you to experience, directly and with all your senses, what we’ve done our best to hint at between these covers.” Although the idea of saving the forests is hardly new, the language and details the authors use (as well as the included images) to describe these regions lead to an especially powerful message.
A highly readable, eloquent reminder of the dire importance of our forests.
"There is no better or more readable guide to the bewildering array of threats to forests or to the economic and institutional programs created to protect them.... It’s impossible to read
Ever Green without being moved by the vision and commitment of the people—including its authors—who’ve devoted themselves to protecting the world’s forests."
New York Review of Books - Verlyn Klinkenborg
"Eloquent and fact-filled....
Ever Green, for all its scholarly precision, is ultimately an impassioned plea to save the world’s last great wild places by two men who had come, through long professional acquaintance, to love them. Readers will find their passion to be contagious."
Washington Post - Richard Schiffman
"Wide-ranging and earnest....
Ever Green diligently lays out the science supporting forest preservation.... But the book’s best moments come when the authors talk about the forests themselves and the luxuriant diversity of life—animal, plant, and human—that can be found in them. The result is an appeal to both the mind and the heart. We must preserve the forests to survive, and we must preserve the forests because it is a moral imperative."
Boston Globe - Cory Oldweiler
"An outstanding primer on the vital role intact forests play in sustaining the biosphere."
New York Times - Thomas Friedman