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The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us

The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us

The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us

The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us

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Overview

“An eye-opening and enchanting book by one of our major scientist-explorers.” —Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper’s Wife

Nicknamed the “Real-Life Lorax” by National Geographic, the biologist, botanist, and conservationist Meg Lowman—aka “CanopyMeg”—takes us on an adventure into the “eighth continent” of the world's treetops, along her journey as a tree scientist, and into climate action

Welcome to the eighth continent!

As a graduate student exploring the rain forests of Australia, Meg Lowman realized that she couldn’t monitor her beloved leaves using any of the usual methods. So she put together a climbing kit: she sewed a harness from an old seat belt, gathered hundreds of feet of rope, and found a tool belt for her pencils and rulers. Up she went, into the trees.

Forty years later, Lowman remains one of the world’s foremost arbornauts, known as the “real-life Lorax.” She planned one of the first treetop walkways and helps create more of these bridges through the eighth continent all over the world.

With a voice as infectious in its enthusiasm as it is practical in its optimism, The Arbornaut chronicles Lowman’s irresistible story. From climbing solo hundreds of feet into the air in Australia’s rainforests to measuring tree growth in the northeastern United States, from searching the redwoods of the Pacific coast for new life to studying leaf eaters in Scotland’s Highlands, from conducting a BioBlitz in Malaysia to conservation planning in India and collaborating with priests to save Ethiopia’s last forests, Lowman launches us into the life and work of a field scientist, ecologist, and conservationist. She offers hope, specific plans, and recommendations for action; despite devastation across the world, through trees, we can still make an immediate and lasting impact against climate change.

A blend of memoir and fieldwork account, The Arbornaut gives us the chance to live among scientists and travel the world—even in a hot-air balloon! It is the engrossing, uplifting story of a nerdy tree climber—the only girl at the science fair—who becomes a giant inspiration, a groundbreaking, ground-defying field biologist, and a hero for trees everywhere.

Includes black-and-white illustrations



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374162696
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 08/10/2021
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 123,538
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Meg Lowman, PhD, aka “CanopyMeg,” is an American biologist, educator, ecologist, writer, editor, and public speaker. She is the executive director of the TREE Foundation and a professor at the National University of Singapore, Arizona State University, and Universiti Sains Malaysia. Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic and “Einstein of the treetops” by The Wall Street Journal, Lowman pioneered the science of canopy ecology. Her motto is “no child left indoors.” She travels extensively for research, outreach, and speaking engagements for audiences large and small.

Table of Contents

Foreword Sylvia A. Earle ix

Ten Tips of Field Biology for Every Aspiring Arbornaut xiii

Prologue! How to See the Whole Tree (and What That Means for the Forest) 3

1 From Wildflower to Wallflower: A Girl Naturalist in Rural America 9

American Elm (Ulmus americana) 27

2 Becoming a Forest Detective: First Encounters with Temperate Trees from New England to Scotland 31

My Favorite Birches (Betula papyrifera, B. pendula, and B. pubescens) 53

3 One Hundred Feet in the Air: Finding a Way to Study Leaves in the Australian Rain Forests 57

Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum) 95

4 Who Ate My Leaves?: Tracking-and Discovering!-Australian Insects 99

Giant Stinging Tree (Dendrocnide excelsa) 123

5 Dieback in the Outback: Juggling Marriage and Investigations of Gum Tree Death in Australia's Sheep Country 127

New England Peppermint (Eucalyptus nova-anglica) 155

6 Hitting the Glass Canopy: How Strangler Figs and Tall Poppies Taught Me to Survive as a Woman in Science 159

Figs (Ficus spp.) 187

7 Arbornauts for a Week: Citizen Scientists Explore the Amazon Jungles 193

The Great Kapok Tree (Ceiba pentandra) 219

8 Tiger Tracks, Tree Leopards, and Vedippala Fruits: Exporting My Toolkit to Train Arbornauts in India 223

Vedippala (Cullenia exarillata) 247

9 A Treetop Bioblitz: Counting 1,659 Species in Malaysia's Tropical Forests in Ten Days 251

Dark Red Meranti (Shorea curtisii) 267

10 Building Trust Between Priests and Arbornauts: Saving The Forests of Ethiopia, One Church at a Time 271

Red Stinkwood or African Cherry (Prunus africana) 293

11 Classrooms in the Sky-for Everyone!: Wheelchairs and Water Bears in the Treetops 297

Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) 313

12 Can We Save Our Last, Best Forests?: Promoting Conservation Through Mission Green 319

Glossary 329

Acknowledgments 335

Index 339

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