David Haskell’s The Forest Unseen won acclaim for eloquent writing and deep engagement with the natural world. Now, he brings his powers of observation to the biological networks that surround all species, including humans.
Haskell repeatedly visits a dozen trees around the world, exploring the trees’ connections with webs of fungi, bacterial communities, cooperative and destructive animals and other plants. An Amazonian ceibo tree reveals the rich ecological turmoil of the tropical forest, along with threats from expanding oil fields. Thousands of miles away, the roots of a balsam fir in Canada survive in poor soil only with the help of fungal partners – in links that are nearly two billion years old.
By unearthing charcoal left by Ice Age humans and petrified redwoods in the Rocky Mountains, Haskell shows how the Earth’s climate has emerged from exchanges among trees, soil communities and the atmosphere. Now humans have transformed these networks, powering our societies with wood, tending some forests, but destroying others.
Through his exploration, Haskell shows that this networked view of life enriches our understanding of biology, human nature and ethics. When we listen to trees, nature’s great connectors, we learn how to inhabit the relationships that give life its source, substance and beauty.
'Here is a book to nourish the spirit. The Songs of Trees is a powerful argument against the ways in which humankind has severed the very biological networks that give us our place in the world. Listen as David Haskell takes his stethoscope to the heart of nature - and discover the poetry and music contained within.' – Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees
“David George Haskell is a wonderful writer and an equally keen observer of the natural world. The Song of Trees is at once lyrical and informative, filled with beauty and also a sense of loss.” – Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction, staff writer at The New Yorker
“This book makes you remember the fragile nature of humanity’s relationship to the world around us. David Haskell has opened up a new dimension in sound – and given us a powerful tool to rethink the way we look at the roots of our reality and how trees are the best way to guide us. A tour de force of sound and symbol. Read. Listen. Learn.” – Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky
“David Haskell writes with uncommon insight and sensitivity: listening and giving voice to the ineluctable networks in which trees and all human experiences are embedded.” – Sir Peter Crane, FRS, President of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, former Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and the Environment, former Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, author of Ginkgo.