A Life Story

Book - 2004
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A story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions. The story of a single tree.

In this clear, concise, and captivating book, renowned scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki and award-winning writer Wayne Grady tell the life story of a tree, beginning when heat from a devastating forest fire opens thousands of pine cones and sends millions of seeds into the air. Most of these seeds perish, but one falls into the soil and develops into the tree that is the subject of this book.

Suzuki and Grady describe how the tree grows and receives nourishment and what role the tree plays in the forest throughout its life. It acts as a home to succession of creatures and plays a crucial role in the water cycle, in breaking rock down into soil, and in removing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Even after the tree dies, it provides a home for moss, ferns, and other plants, which use the tree as a nurse log, and it provides nutrients for insects and fungi. Tree also looks at the community of organisms that share the tree's ecosystem and at the events going on in the larger world during the tree's lifetime.
Publisher: Vancouver : Greystone Books, 2004.
ISBN: 9781553650164


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Jan 27, 2019

Ranges from tree reproduction at a cellular level to an ecosystem view of forest function over the multi-century lifespan of a Douglas-fir on the pacific coast. Once again we are reminded how interconnected are all the species - plant, animal, fungus - that comprise a forest. One chain reaction: loss of old growth Douglas-fir forest reduces or extirpates spotted owls; less spotted owls means more flying squirrels who over-eat truffles, thereby reducing the mycorrhizal fungi that the trees depend on for nutrition, leading to a less healthy forest.

This is an enchanting biography of a single Douglas-fir tree on Vancouver Island. David Suzuki and Wayne Grady paint an interesting portrait of a life form we often take for granted, sharing fascinating facts regarding biology, the coastal forest ecosystem, environmental issues, and even world history along the way. (submitted by LN)

May 26, 2017

A must read for all nature lovers. It tells stories of much more than trees. It is like reading a si-fi with yourself in it, only that it is real and happening right in front of your eyes.

Apr 11, 2016

This is by far one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. David Suzuki romanticizes the life of Douglas Fir with gorgeous imagery and interesting facts about the living organisms it affects. A must read for anyone who has ever looked at a tree and thought there was definitely something more than just what you can see.

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