The Global Forest

By Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Viking Press Publishing | May, 2010 | 166 pp | $24.95

Reviewed by Jill Noel Shreve

book cover

“Trees copulate in copious amounts,” writes Diana Beresford-Kroeger in the essay, The Sexual Revolution, one of forty stories in her newest non-fiction project, The Global Forest. In this particular essay, she includes scintillating details of tree-mating habits and hones in on how trees “do it” when they please. But she doesn’t stop there. She takes the sexual appetite of trees one step further, writing, “For a plant such as a tree, sexual parameters are paramount to ensure a continuation of life.”

That’s the beauty of The Global Forest.

In her Irish-Gaelic, storytelling voice, Beresford-Kroeger hooks her audience by writing in a way they can understand. She leads them into this forested world by connecting two seemingly unrelated topics (in this example, trees and sex), then laces these two ideas together, exposing her audience to deeper needs: the cry of planet earth and humanity’s responsibility to that cry.

Beresford-Kroeger repeatedly does this throughout The Global Forest, using topics people resonate with: sports, dreams, visual art, ancient legends, music, stage performances, maternal instincts, fashion, mythical creatures, heroes, and economics. Using these common knowledge ideas, she illuminates this complicated, foreign world of trees.

After illustrating that connection for her audience in each essay, Beresford-Kroeger then displays what she’s drawn from the deep wells of science and spirituality and how that information relates to forests. She explains how trees function within the ecosystem, highlights how they provide medicinal healing and how trees should be considered almost as sacred as Holy Communion. She examines how forests offer a solution to global warming and reveals how trees operate more like a community than humans realize they do.

Through this collection, Beresford-Kroeger presents a new perspective on a well-known paradigm for the environmental debate, advocating solutions for the sustainability of the planet and warning that time no longer sits on humanity’s side for the salvation of vegetation. She even offers her audience a “bioplan,” a strategy for renovating the forests, but you’ll have to grab a copy of the book for the details.

Beresford-Kroeger, a botanist, lecturer and researcher, has staked her claim as an expert in the world of trees and with this collection of stories, she offers a more fireside-chat approach to the delivery of her expertise and ideology, rather than a textbook algorithm. However, in some instanes, I wanted a footnote or endnote, confirming a fact she offered.

Beresford-Kroeger tailored this collection for horticulturists, agriculturists, and scientists. But because of her enchanting prose, she transcended the boundaries of those particular groups, making this collection easily accessible to everyone. I, a twenty-seven year-old creative writer, greatly enjoyed this work. I could delve into this mystifying world of greenery and latch on to the concepts she presented because of her commitment to provocative writing, as well as her commitment to the flora of the earth. I recommend this text not only because of the message, but also because of Beresford-Kroeger’s compelling voice.

So, grab a copy, dig into the woodlands with Diana Beresford-Kroeger, and you, too, can explore The Global Forest.

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