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    The War Between Trees and Grasses by Howard Thomas: The Book I wished I’d had as an Undergraduate.

    What drives the author to spend time on the piano to re-establish calm or why did the song The Teddy Bears’ Picnic leave an unsettling feeling as a child? These comments are just some of the fascinating thoughts which make this biological history of an ‘edgy relationship’ so personable. Howard Thomas’s recent book The War […] More

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    80 wonderful trees and their stories

    Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori 2018. Laurence King Publishing Ltd. Stephen Barstow did it with plants, Dan Cruikshank did it with man-made ‘treasures’, and now Jonathan Drori’s done it with trees. Done what? Taken us on a world tour in his wonderful book entitled Around the World in 80 Trees [hereafter […] More

  • Opening lecture at the conference
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    Trees and Wellbeing Conference at Oxford Brookes University, 18 May 2018

    This conference brought together recent research and ancient wisdom to discuss the beneficial effects of trees on human wellbeing and happiness. It was organized by Christiana Payne, Professor of History of Art at Brookes, and Fiona Stafford, Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University. Both scholars have recently published books on trees in […] More

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    Let’s go down to the forest … to bathe!

    Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Qing Li, Viking, 2018 If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise… * No, this blog item is nothing to do with a Teddy bears’ picnic (as immortalised in the song of the same name), but Qing […] More

  • The Hidden Life of Trees
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    A life of trees sometimes hidden by lush verdant text

    The review might have appeared a lot faster, if there wasn’t a problem with the language in Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. The book is a popularisation of the Wood-Wide Web, the idea that trees in a forest can communicate through a network of mycorrhizal fungi. Wohlleben runs with this idea and explores […] More

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    Botanical Interest in ‘No Such Thing as a Fish’

    One of my favorite podcasts is ‘No Such Thing as a Fish‘ (NSTaaF) from the QI elves (writers). Each week, the four co-hosts bring a fact they present to the others and discuss. In Episode 167, “No Such Thing as Milk From a Yak“, two of the four segments were devoted to botanical subjects. One […] More

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    Bigging-up wood work

    Secondary Xylem Biology: Origins, Functions, and Applications. Edited by Yoon Soo Kim, Ryo Funada and Adya Singh. Academic Press, 2016. We don’t get that many books dealing specifically with secondary xylem [wood] biology, so Kim et al.’s Secondary Xylem Biology: Origins, Functions, and Applications [hereafter referred to as SXBiol] is a welcome addition to that […] More

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    Using dormant twigs to investigate climate change (Viewpoint)

    Climate change has altered the spring phenology of many temperate plants, with important ecological consequences. However, studies of phenological shifts are generally restricted to field observations or remote-sensing methods. Twig experiments—which involve clipping dormant twigs of trees, shrubs and vines and bringing them into laboratory conditions for phenological observations—offer an underutilized opportunity to disentangle the […] More

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