Features almost 300 colour photographs and brings together more than 60 years of research by a leading voice in British woodland ecology.
Trees define woodland. They provide a complex, multi-layered habitat for a great range of wildlife, but they are also wildlife themselves, reacting to their circumstances and each other. Woodlands are important to people, supplying timber, food and fuel, accumulating carbon, and offering places of refuge and refreshment. But they are also under threat: some stand in the way of 'progress', and all are becoming increasingly vulnerable to disease and climate change.
In Trees and Woodlands, George Peterken brings together decades of scientific research, while also incorporating his personal experiences, to explore the ecology, nature conservation and wider cultural value of our native trees and shrubs, and the various ways they have combined as woodland.
Peterken accepts that all woodlands have been shaped by people as well as nature, and he describes the long history of use and management and how this has influenced woodland wildlife. Woodlands have also contributed to our art, beliefs and social attitudes, and this too is examined. He concludes by asking, what next for Britain's trees and woodlands? He advocates woods being managed and their timber and small wood being put to good use, but recognises that this is all part of a larger question: the future of ourselves.
Containing nearly 300 photographs, and interspersed with box texts describing the history and ecology of representative woods across Britain, this is a commentary on trees, woodlands and our relationship with them from one of our most highly regarded forest ecologists.
About the Author
George Peterken is a woodland ecologist. First at the Nature Conservancy and then as part of the Chief Scientist's team in the Nature Conservancy Council, he led the development of national surveys of woodland and their management for nature conservation. Born into a New Forest family, he now lives in the Lower Wye Valley, where he found himself the owner of eight tiny meadows and founded the Parish Grassland Project. His early books included Woodland Conservation and Management (1981) and Natural Woodland (1996), before he changed direction to write Wye Valley (2008) in the New Naturalist series and Meadows (2013) for the British Wildlife Collection. More recently, he has returned to woodlands to co-write Woodland Development: a long-term study of Lady Park Wood (2017) and Art meets Ecology (2020).