- Hardcover: 229 pages
- Publisher: Univ Pr of Kentucky (23 September 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0813165660
- ISBN-13: 978-0813165660
- Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.9 x 26 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 717 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass Hardcover – 23 Sep 2015
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"This is a fascinating book about a unique landscape in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Trees with stout stems and enormous crowns create scenic woodland pastures grazed by horses and cattle. This book examines the origin and management of this landscape. What part was played by the huge herds of bison that roamed and grazed there before Europeans settled the Bluegrass? After settlement, the bison vanished, along with their favored foods, giant cane and native grasses, but the trees remain. Fire was not the architect of this landscape. The striking similarity of the Bluegrass woodland pastures to those of Europe suggests that both habitats were created by large grazing animals. Experience with the European woodland pastures may help answer the questions raised in this wonderful book." -- Frans Vera, author of Grazing Ecology and Forest History
"[Kimmerer's] respect for [the trees] and the need to take care of them is almost religious. Even if you are not a tree hugger, you will be glad if you own and read this book." -- Voice-Tribune
" Venerable Trees will fill a valuable niche as Lexington and the surrounding region make decisions about the future of our urban forest. I don't know of another book like it." -- Andy Mead, reporter at the Lexington Herald-Leader for 34 years
"Kimmerer's use of historical documents helps the reader to see the significant changes that have occurred since the advent of European descendants into Central Kentucky. His work calls attention to the significance of these trees and the need for greater sensitivity in preserving them." -- John Tierney, retired naturalist for the Kentucky State Parks
"This beautifully illustrated book offers guidelines for conserving ancient trees worldwide while educating readers about their life cycle. [It] is an informative call to understand the challenges faced by the companions so deeply rooted in the region's heritage and a passionate plea for their preservation." -- Greater Louisville Sierra Club
"The venerable trees that Kimmerer describes are vital to the history, landscape, and ecosystem of both the Kentucky Bluegrass and Nashville Basin regions. In addition to exploring their history and biology, Kimmerer also suggests ways to protect the magnificent trees, including detailed guidelines to aid in managing them and proven strategies to promote their growth and natural regeneration. The Bluegrass boasts a unique and picturesque landscape found nowhere else in the Western Hemisphere. Without these venerable trees, the very face of the region would be irrevocably altered." -- Broadway World
"While deeply grounded in science, this book is written with a general audience in mind. It is easy to understand and filled with interesting information and stories, plus useful maps, illustrations and dozens of Kimmerer's beautiful photographs of the trees.... Venerable Trees will likely become a classic among books about Kentucky's natural history and environment, because it covers so much new information in such an accessible way.... [T]his book will give you a greater appreciation of Kentucky's oldest living residents." -- Lexington Herald-Leader
"With Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass, Tom Kimmerer takes us on a remarkable journey that is at once cultural and personal, wide-ranging and intimate, challenging and inspirational." -- Plant Science Bulletin
"From the intricate descriptions of large grassy areas ringed by venerable trees to examples of dedication of enthusiastic preservationists of Bluegrass Kentucky, we learn of efforts to venerate, to protect, and to replenish the tree canopy of the Bluegrass.
Providing us with more than 100 color photographs and the use of historical documents, this book is a critical volume for public and university libraries." -- The Southeastern Librarian
About the Author
Tom Kimmerer is chief scientist at Venerable Trees, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the conservation of woodland pastures and ancient trees in the Bluegrass. Trained as a tree physiologist and forest scientist, he has been a researcher and teacher in the United States, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book is partly about an ecosystem he calls woodland pasture. This means that the trees grew up in a fairly open landscape created by grazing animals--bison, which were once very common, the last in the Bluegrass about 1800 or so. They heavily graze and area and return perhaps years later, and this gives trees time to grow. In a sense many of the trees in this book are fossils of the bison-created woodland pastures and are old enough to have been--can one say "born" with reference to special trees?--a century before the last bison. The main trees he's concerned with are bur oaks, shumard oaks, chinkapin oaks, and blue ash. Some of these trees can live well past 400 years, although not many have been probed; the oldest verified tree in Kentucky is 405, which the author says is named Woody C. Guthtree.
The chapters are short and most feature many photos. There are trees in pastures, beside roads, in cemeteries, on campuses, in housing developments. He praises a couple of specific farms and condemns one college for their treatment of these old trees. He notes that climate change may pose significant problems for the trees, shifting the ranges north.
At the end of the book is a color section of photos with trees galore. After 20 or 30 pages of this they seem less like individual trees than living history. I was reminded of the oaks in the paintings of the German artist Caspar David Friedrich, for whom the ancient trees were potent symbol of God's creation. Kimmerer seems to share something similar.
What is most stunning about the book is the reverence that individual trees are given. Many of the chapter’s read like biographies of individual trees, and the trees are given names or titles, such as “The Coldstream Tree”, “The Old Schoolhouse Oak”, and “Woody C. Guthtree”. When you consider that some of the trees are over 400 years old (“Woody” the Chinkapin oak at Floracliff, at 404 years and counting, germinated in 1611 the year in which Shakespeare’s Tempest was first performed.
The call to action, to save these trees older than the Commonwealth is most important, but it’s not always clear what he proposes in the absences of nomadic grazing animals—bison.
The book is wonderfully illustrated with both black and white photographs and 24 color plates.
If you get a chance to here Dr Kimmerer speak or better yet a field day, be sure to do it!
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