The Living Forest: A Visual Journey Into The Heart Of The Woods

Living forestRobert Llewellyn and Joan Maloof
Timber Press, £30.00

Dryads exist – how else can such a wonderful book have been produced? The subtitle is 'A Visual Journey into the Heart of the Forest'; it was a journey into the heart of this reviewer at least. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

The Living Forest boasts stupendous photographs, ranging from intimate details of developing seeds to sweeping vistas of North American forests, and a text that wears its erudition ever so lightly. It certainly touched a chord within me (perhaps it is genetic – my surname means 'free man of the woods') and my first thought after reading it was to get out under some trees myself.

The book is an elegy to temperate forests, albeit US ones, with perfect symbiosis between text and photographs, science and art – it is as much a prose poem as a book of learning. The Living Forest is a coffee-table book full of cutting-edge information on the web of nature that is a temperate forest, written in a style that is accessible to all.

The text ends with the words: "The forest is worthy of being loved, and of being mourned when it is gone. It is more than trees and timber dollars and habitat. It is a spirit filled place. Have you felt it?" This reviewer certainly has. I would say more, but the book leaves me dumb with admiration.

Dr JD Charlwood