The Wild Trees

A Story of Passion and Daring

Preston, Richard

Book - 2008
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Wild Trees
Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the tallest organisms the world has ever sustained--the coast redwood trees. 96% of the ancient redwood forests have been logged, but the fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. Writer Preston unfolds the story of the daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored. The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems, sometimes hollowed out by fire. Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life unknown to science.--From publisher description.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2008
Edition: Random House trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780812975598
Branch Call Number: 585.5 P939w 2008
Characteristics: 294 p. :,ill., maps ;,20 cm
Additional Contributors: Preston, Richard 1954- (Panic in level 4)


From Library Staff

Who would be crazy and foolish enough to climb a supposedly unscalable 300-plus foot redwood, sans ropes or climbing gear? A couple of Reedies on fall break! The author of "The Hot Zone" follows the lives of the eccentrics and obsessives who were the first to explore the amazing ecosyst... Read More »

Almost all of our redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but there are some tiny, untouched fragments that remain and are among the great wonders of nature. This is a beautiful story of a tiny group of brave botanists and amateur naturalists that took science by the horns and went into t... Read More »

Three buddies on spring break climb into a California redwood and discover a new ecosystem atop the trees. Join this group of young scientists in the canopy as they learn safe climbing techniques for the oldest and tallest trees of North America, and encounter new species of plants, animals, and ... Read More »

An ecological and biographical account of an ecosystem in 300 foot-high redwood trees and the people who first climbed these trees to find and study it.

From the critics

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Jan 27, 2015
  • sess430 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This story is about a couple of tree canopy biologists and a hobbyist who was obsessed with the search for the world's tallest known tree - a coast redwood tree in California. The author describes their personal lives in some detail as well as giving detailed information about the mechanics- and danger- of climbing trees over 360 feet tall. I was surprised to learn there was so much unexplored terrain as of 1991.

Sep 19, 2014

Wish I would've written it. This is a good one.

Mar 19, 2014

A fascinating account of tall tree enthusiasts and scientists who climb and study some of the world’s biggest trees, primarily the Giant Sequoia. A ‘wild tree’ is one that has not been climbed nor studied. Author Richard Preston (a tree enthusiast himself) follows the work of those few who have developed and mastered climbing techniques that makes study of these amazing trees possible. A wonderful addition to the natural history of the pacific coast, reads like an adventure novel.

Jul 12, 2012
  • hcallahan rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This was really fun to read. Preston knows how to write a page-turner. The characters he describes are colorful, as are their activities. Finally, there is actually a good amount of forest science in the book. Highly recommended.

Sep 14, 2011
  • cr421 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

possibly the best book I've read in years. Great subject, great writing and mostly it makes me want to go climb trees. Preston develops his subject so well and the book is so readable that it's hard to put it down and when you do, you find yourself wanting more. Off to the Redwoods I go.......

Sep 13, 2011
  • scottbdr rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Read this during our visit to the Redwoods. Highly recommended if you are going to visit the bit trees since it really gives you a better idea about what they are all about.

Feb 09, 2011
  • Elizabeth_Leboe rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I adored this book; it transported me to the magical land of huge, tall trees and made it feel like the western Sequoia forests were enchanted and inhabited by quirky, passionate people.

Jun 17, 2008
  • Heather rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Very odd people doing interesting things - lots of information on old growth trees and tree climbing, and very interesting people. But the writing is a bit flat and the story becomes a bit tedious at times.


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