paper, 179 pp., $50.00
The authors present an interesting study of the ancient trees in an English county. Focusing on the landscape history of the region, Gerry Barns and Tom Williamson discuss the factors, both human and environmental, that have influenced landscape history. They emphasize that their work is based on extensive sampling of data and systematic mapping of the region. After considering the soils, geology, hydrology, and climate, they conclude that “human agency has played a fundamental role in structuring our arboreal inheritance.” For example, different species were preferred over others by landowners. The ancient trees themselves provide evidence that selection of species played a part in determining survival rate. Sadly, many surviving oaks have been affected by climatic change, as well as diseases, leaving their part in the story seriously threatened.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden