* LONGLISTED FOR THE JAMES CROPPER WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2022 *
* A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK *
'The very treeline is on the move: a devastating image. This book is an evocative, wise and unflinching exploration of what it will mean for humanity.' Jay Griffiths
The Arctic treeline is the frontline of climate change, where the trees have been creeping towards the pole for fifty years already. These vast swathes of forests, which encircle the north of the globe in an almost unbroken green ring, comprise the world's second largest biome.
Scientists are only just beginning to understand the astonishing significance of these northern forests for all life on Earth. Six tree species - Scots pine, birch, larch, spruce, poplar and rowan - form the central protagonists of Ben Rawlence's story. In Scotland, northern Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland, he discovers what these trees and the people who live and work alongside them have to tell us about the past, present and future of our planet.
At the treeline, Rawlence witnesses the accelerating impact of climate change and the devastating legacies of colonialism and capitalism. But he also finds reasons for hope. Humans are creatures of the forest; we have always evolved with trees. The Treeline asks us where our co-evolution might take us next. Deeply researched and beautifully written, The Treeline is a spellbinding blend of nature, travel and science writing, underpinned by an urgent environmental message.
Rawlence is a fine ecologist and an excellent writer with the rare ability both to tell an absorbing tale and to convey the subtleties of science. The Treeline is timely, salutary and eminently readable. Excellent.
[A] lyrical and passionate book... The Treeline is a sobering, powerful account of how trees might just save the world, as long as we are sensible enough to let them.
This clear-headed, perspective-altering book... will rightly provoke fear, but also a sense of wonder ... A beautiful and evocative portrait of the natural world. It is essential reading for those hoping to better understand our changing planet.
Ben Rawlence... writes with accuracy, beauty and urgency.
[An] urgent investigation into the Arctic treeline... a meticulously researched and compellingly presented read.
[A] sweeping account of the Arctic forest that circles the world in an almost unbroken ring.
Our trees are on the move but we have no place left to go. Ben Rawlence's The Treeline is a moving, thoughtful, deeply reported elegy for our vanishing world and a map of the one to come.
A fascinating book drawing on a brilliant, original line of thinking to reveal the roots and reach of our changing boreal forests... A perfect combination of lyrical writing and rigorous reporting. Utterly illuminating.
What an extraordinary book this is! ... This is not just a description of a warming world but an active invitation to live differently, to participate with wisdom and humility in the cacophonous and ever-unfinished abundance of terrestrial life.
An urgent and insightful tour of some of the world's strangest, most bewitching and most endangered environments. It is at once a tribute to indigenous wisdom, a paean to the otherworldly beauty of the taiga and the tundra, and a highly readable overview of the latest science. This is an important book, and one I will be pressing into other people's hands.