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The Living Forest

The Living Forest, October 2017
by Joan Maloof, Robert Llewellyn

Timber Press
257 pages
ISBN: 1604697121
EAN: 9781604697124
Hardcover
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"If you go down to the woods today, you never know what you'll see"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Living Forest
Joan Maloof, Robert Llewellyn

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted December 15, 2017

Non-Fiction Gardening | Non-Fiction Photography | Non-Fiction

A work of stunning photography and fascinating information can be found in THE LIVING FOREST. In keeping with the subtitle, An Eye-Opening Journey From the Canopy to the Woodland Floor, we are invited to view the North American landscape from leaf litter to treetops, and the large or small creatures which inhabit the woods.

Award-winning photographer Robert Llewellyn has captured the magic and awe of various American woodlands, with explanations by Joan Maloof of the processes and ecology involved. Eastern bluebirds are tiny winged jewels, now under threat due to deforestation, pesticide use and competition from sparrows and starlings. Like other insect- eaters they help rid the trees of sap suckers and leaf chewers. In return the tree provides them with nesting holes. Bats are part of the same process, catching moths about to lay eggs on leaves. Maloof explains that trees emit chemicals to the air when leaves are being chewed, and not only do other trees nearby sense this but birds will increase feeding on insects on the affected trees.

Grand, spreading native trees are home to far more species than thin, marshalled forestry trees. An old tree has holes, lichen and moss, forked twigs and abundant leaves, suitable for homes. The most ancient trees shown have had room to spread and hold fast against storms. Maloof describes how trees see light and react to it, whether that is the length of day or the visible wavelengths; even moonlight. The role forests play in containing and distributing water, through condensation and transpiration, is discussed, with images of misty mornings in the woods and stream life. 'Trout grow on trees' is a trademarked slogan of the Stroud Water Research Center, which understands the need for forests to maintain rivers. Appalachian Mountain forests are the global centre of salamander diversity. And browsing deer attract larger predators. A seldom seen world is exposed by removing tree bark to show the tunnels bored by beetle larvae.

I love that the language is clear enough for a casual nature lover, but at the same time up to date studies are provided. THE LIVING FOREST would suit equally well as a coffee table book, full of wonder and bright colour, whether autumnal mountainside, fungi or tiny wildflowers. I strongly recommend this book.

Learn more about The Living Forest

SUMMARY

A spectacular journey deep into the heart of the forest

From the leaves and branches of the canopy to the roots and soil of the understory, the forest is a complex, interconnected ecosystem filled with plants, birds, mammals, insects, and fungi. Some of it is easily discovered, but many parts remain difficult or impossible for the human eye to see. Until now.

The Living Forest is a visual journey that immerses you deep into the woods. The wide-ranging photography by Robert Llewellyn celebrates the small and the large, the living and the dead, and the seen and the unseen. You’ll discover close-up images of owls, hawks, and turtles; aerial photographs that show herons in flight; and time- lapse imagery that reveals the slow change of leaves. In an ideal blend of art and scholarship, the 300 awe- inspiring photographs are supported by lyrical essays from Joan Maloof detailing the science behind the wonder.


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