Diana Beresford-Kroeger will be a familiar name to many who take an interest in trees and forests. Her book Arboretum America: a Philosophy of the Forest (2003) is one of the only books on trees I know of that takes an integrated approach to describing the culture (in all manners of speaking) of trees within North American forests. Her approach weaves together an unusual and rich tapestry of scientific and traditional knowledge with an insightful reverence.
Bringing light to the oft-unseen and undervalued roles that trees play in the complex web of ecological relationships is Beresford-Kroeger’s specialty. Talking to her, like reading her books, is like being fed nuggets that spur one’s curiosity, intuition and observational powers. She helps us to reorient ourselves rightly and firmly within complex local and global ecosystems.
Diana has an agenda that might intimidate even the most ambitious amongst us. She wants to reach a mere billion people around the globe to tell them about the importance of preserving our global forests and about the myriad reasons (as yet largely unrecognized) why the current course of flattening forests for pulp wood and suburban developments could truly be cause for a diagnosis of collective insanity. In Canada, 50% of our boreal forests — part of the last great forest system left in the world — is on the chopping block, and few people know about it. Fewer still know why this should matter. Aside from the more common arguments as to why these forests should stay standing — habitat, emotional and cultural value, carbon sequestering and oxygen-producing abilities — Diana can point out more than a few more profound reasons why they should remain.
Read the full profile of Diana Beresford-Kroeger, as well as her tips for some of the best trees to plant in our area, on theHumm Online.