In a magnificent new book, the world’s most magical woodlands are unveiled.
With the help of this brand-new coffee-table book, explore some of the most beautiful woodlands in the world. ‘A pictorial investigation of an ancient ecosystem that encompasses four billion hectares of the Earth’s surface and whose care is important to human survival,’ according to Kieron Connolly’s Forests, a book from Amber Books.
The book is jam-packed with over 220 images that take the reader on a visually stunning tour through locations covered in trees across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Asia. The ‘strange and unusual’ Dragon’s Blood Forest in Yemen, an underwater kelp forest off the coast of California, and Poland’s ‘Crooked Forest,’ an enigmatic grove of curiously shaped pine trees of unknown provenance, will both be shown to readers.
There are many different types of forests, as Connolly notes in the introduction: “Coniferous or broadleaf, tropical or temperate, old growth or fresh.” Although we like to imagine that forests are uninhabited, people have been living there for thousands of years. There, we have gone hunting and cut down trees for timber or firewood. To make room for crops or for pastures, we have cleared land. We learn from the sacred groves of various cultures around the world that woodlands are spiritual sites as well. We rightfully lament the loss of forests, yet despite widespread deforestation, wildfires, and climate change, there are instances when trees are recovering their spot on the earth, from Africa to the Americas to Europe.
QUIVER TREE FOREST, SOUTHERN NAMIBIA:
According to Connolly, “The San people,” who are the earliest inhabitants of Southern Africa, “traditionally used the branches of the quiver tree (Aloidendron dichotomum) to make quivers”—a container for holding weapons like arrows or javelins. This forest, which contains about 250 quiver trees, is one of the few to have grown on its own. The rock hyrax, a rodent-like creature found “across most of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East,” is said to reside in the woodland, according to the author. The elephant is its closest surviving relative on land, despite being just around 50 cm (20 in) long and weighing about 4 kg (8.8 lb), according to him.
Southern Amazon Rainforest:
According to the book, the Amazon rainforest, which spans 5.5 million square kilometres (2.1 million square miles), is home to an estimated 390 billion trees from 16,000 different kinds. In terms of surface area, it makes up half of the world’s remaining rainforests, according to Connolly. It spans nine nations, including French Guiana, Guyana, Surinam, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. The Amazon is home to more than 30 million people from 350 distinct ethnic groups. Despite the length of the rainforest, the book observes that “there is not a single bridge across the Amazon River.” There aren’t enough roads along the river to generate enough demand, the author explains, not because it’s technically impossible. Instead, ferries are used.
SARAWAK, Malaysian Borneo, RAINFOREST AND OIL PALM PLANTATION:
According to the book, this aerial photograph depicts a rainforest “making way for an oil palm plantation.” Connolly comments on the effects the oil palm business has had on the area, stating that oil palm is used as a substitute for butter, a soap foaming agent, and in biofuels. The Malaysian state of Sarawak, which is nearly the size of England, has just surpassed all other suppliers of logs for plywood, panelling, and furniture. However, Sarawak’s logging was “a sunset sector,” according to World Bank reports from the 1990s. The trees would eventually run out because they weren’t being replaced. Only 5% of the state’s primary forest is still present today.
TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, ARIZONA’S FOUR PEAKS MOUNTAIN:
According to the book, the Four Peaks Mountain, which is a portion of the Mazatzal Mountains in south-central Arizona, is reached over brush- and pine-covered hillsides. At lower elevations, there is desert shrub, and at higher elevations there are grasslands with evergreen manzanita shrubs and shrub live oaks (Quercus turbinella).
United States, North Carolina, PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST:
The author indicates that Pisgah National Forest was one of the first national forests in the east to be established, in 1916. According to him, Pisgah, which is the Hebrew term for “mountain summit,” is a hardwood forest in the Appalachian Mountains that is home to some of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River.
New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest
The White Mountains National Forest, which is located in the northern Appalachians, was created in 1918 as a result of the Weeks Act and was given the name John W. Weeks in honour of the Massachusetts congressman. The legislation, which went into effect in 1911, was initially developed because the federal government lacked substantial landholdings in the eastern United States for protection. Within a century, the act has conserved 80,000 sq km (49,700 sq miles) of forestland through purchases of private land.
Australia’s DAINTREE NATIONAL PARK
In Queensland The Australian fan palm (Licuala ramsayi), which is indigenous to northern Queensland, has leaves that can grow up to 2 metres (6 feet) long and form a nearly complete circle, according to Connolly, who also describes the plant in the Daintree National Park. He continues, saying that the “southern cassowary bird (Casuarius casuarius) eats the fruits of the palm tree” and that “the leaves of the tree can be utilised for thatch and food wrapping.”
AMAZON RAINFOREST, PERU:
According to Connolly, Franciscan missionaries in the Peruvian Amazon in the early 17th century adopted a traditional Native American fever treatment prepared from a tree found in the cloud forests. The bark contains quinine, which remained the only known treatment for malaria for the following 200 years, the author writes.