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The Wood for the Trees
The Long View of Nature from a Small Wood
From one of our greatest science writers, this biography of a beech-and-bluebell wood through diverse moods and changing seasons combines stunning natural history with the ancient history of the countryside to tell the full story of the British landscape.
Guided by his abiding love of nature and a lifetime of scientific expertise, Richard Fortey takes us on a journey through ecosystems and time. The Wood for the Trees is the story of humankind meeting nature, an homage to the mesmerising interactions between flora, fauna and fungi.
Discover the lives of animals and plants; the passage of seasons; visits by fellow enthusiasts; the play of light between branches; the influence of geology; and how woodland has shaped history, architecture, and industry. On every page Fortey shows how an intimate study of one small wood can reveal so much about the natural world, and demonstrates his relish for the incomparable pleasures of discovery.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`Fortey's forte is that he gets down and dirty in this diary of his beech wood. If you go down to the woods today, take Fortey with you' John Lewis-Stempel, Books of the Year, The Times
`This marvellous book documents a year in the life of his patch - and he chronicles its changing moods superbly ... Fortey's prose is a joy ... his sharp eye and ceaselessly inquiring mind are an inspiration' Daily Mail
`His remarkable scientific knowledge, intense curiosity and love of nature mean entries erupt with the same richness and variety as the woods they describe ... Fortey's enthusiasm for his new wonderland is infectious and illuminating .... deep and interesting' Guardian
`Wonderfully readable' BBC Wildlife magazine
`Captivating ... what he shows in this remarkable book, always precise, often lyrical ... is just how much can be learned by sinking into one particular place' Evening Standard
`An exceptionally detailed record ... a deep understanding of the natural history that it shapes' Nature magazine
`Fortey's fascinating and thorough book ... illuminates its flora and fauna, history and ecology with indisputable expertise' Financial Times
`Fortey is never dull ... `The Wood For the Trees' yields plenty of fascinating nuggets ... a joyous celebration of what we now call biodiversity - the sheer creative exuberance, endless variety and inventiveness of nature, evident in four acres of Chiltern woodland ... `The Wood For the Trees' is a handsome volume copiously illustrated, well indexed and packed with facts. It would sit well on any woodland lover's bookshelf' Literary Review
`The volume of flora and fauna collected and identified by Fortey and his expert friends is impressive ... like the truffles that he unearths at the foot of a beech tree, there are good things to be found in this book' The Times