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[permaculture] Book: Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forset by Diana Beresford-Kroeger

This book came to my attention. The Bioplan -- which calls for
"creating a diverse and functional ecosystem including twenty tree
groups and their herbaceous companions" -- sounds similar to
ecological design for permacultural plant guilds.

Passing along details and a few book review excerpts, fyi.

Steve Diver


Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest
Diana Beresford-Kroeger
University of Michigan Press
2003, 260 pages
ISBN: 0472068512


Book review at:

In her short introduction, botanist Beresford-Kroeger writes that the great
forests of North America have suffered terribly during the past century and
that "to survive as a species ourselves" we must restore their original diversity.
As a step in that direction, she describes 20 common trees that serve many
functions in a forest ecosystem, e.g., black walnut, catalpa, sassafras, maple, and cedar. For each tree, she first discusses its history, especially its use by
the aboriginal peoples of North America, followed by how to propagate the
tree and provide the optimal environmental conditions for its growth. The
following sections focus on the tree's medicinal uses, its ecological function as
food and shelter for wildlife, and the ways in which it can be planted for
therapeutic, aesthetic, and commercial value.


Book review at:

In this manifesto, botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger urges the sqalvation of
the planet through the miracle of trees. She analyzes some twenty genera of
trees in unique ways: as they relate to the environment, and as they improve human health and the earth's ecology. As she does so she captures the botanical, physical reality of each type of tree, its culural signifigance, and something else
as well: the metaphysical, magical spell all trees cast over us.


Book review at:

As E.O. Wilson writes in his foreword, Beresford-Kroeger is a poet and
naturalist, "both druidical and scientific in literary expression." So, too, is
her Bioplan, which in spirit and letter covers all aspects of trees, from
their history and use by First Nations people, to their organic care, their
medicinal and therapeutic properties, design and horticultural considerations,
and the magic spell they cast over us.


Book review at:

Diana Beresford-Kroeger loves plants and knows them inside and out. Shes
a classical botanist with a Ph.D. in molecular biology in addition to her background in heart research. For decades she has nurtured her very large and very beautiful organic garden, which is a refuge for many rare and old species of plants and trees. You know her as Nature Canadas Green Gardener columnist. All this is to say she is eminently qualified to write this eagerly awaited book, which is a tour de
force and a must-read.

Twenty portraits of North American trees cover their natural history, eco-function, uses by Native Americans, medical uses, distribution, and evolution. There are
detailed notes on how to grow and care for each species and how to use them
in garden design. Most interesting are the bioplanning sections, which suggest
how the trees fit into the ecosystem and how we can use them to improve
our environmentwhite oak for wildlife and urban reforestation, white pines
around hospitals, elderberry to supplement the income of farming communities, basswood to attract pollinating bees, and ash to re-establish hardwood forests.

Each chapter on trees reminds us how much our lives depend on them. Trees
used to be a direct source of our survival, providing lumber, food and firewood. Today our relationship is less directsome of us might not even see a tree all day or all week. Yet we cant survive without trees and properly functioning
forests. Arboretum America considers ecological, economic, and aesthetic

The purpose of the book is to teach us how to choose and plant the right trees
to ensure we replenish our forests and woodlots wisely. Lets admit that a
plantation doesnt have the complex biological interactions required to replace a natural forest. With this book in hand, and with a little effort, we can repair
our forests. We can also add the right element to a household garden.
Mother Nature would approve.


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