Tree Story – The History of the World Written in Rings
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- Johns Hopkins University Press
- 2020 ISBN 9781421437774
- 264 pages
- 23 × 15.2 × 2.2 cm
People across the world know that to tell how old a tree is, you count its rings. Few people, however, know that research into tree rings has also made amazing contributions to our understanding of Earth’s climate history and its influences on human civilization over the past 2,000 years. In her captivating book Tree Story, Valerie Trouet reveals how the seemingly simple and relatively familiar concept of counting tree rings has inspired far-reaching scientific breakthroughs that illuminate the complex interactions between nature and people.
Trouet, a leading tree-ring scientist, takes us out into the field, from remote African villages to radioactive Russian forests, offering readers an insider’s look at tree-ring research, a discipline known as dendrochronology. Tracing her own professional journey while exploring dendrochronology’s history and applications, Trouet describes the basics of how tell-tale tree cores are collected and dated with ring-by-ring precision, explaining the unexpected and momentous insights we’ve gained from the resulting samples.
Blending popular science, travelogue, and cultural history, Tree Story highlights exciting findings of tree-ring research, including the fate of lost pirate treasure, successful strategies for surviving California wildfire, the secret to Genghis Khan’s victories, the connection between Egyptian pharaohs and volcanoes, and even the role of olives in the fall of Rome. These fascinating tales are deftly woven together to show us how dendrochronology sheds light on global climate dynamics and uncovers the clear links between humans and our leafy neighbors. Trouet delights us with her dedication to the tangible appeal of studying trees, a discipline that has taken her to austere and beautiful landscapes around the globe and has enabled scientists to solve long-pondered mysteries of Earth and its human inhabitants.
Winner of the World Wide Fund’s 2020 Jan Wolkers Prize
Gold Winner of the 2020 Foreword INDIES Award in Ecology & Environment
Bronze Winner of the 2021 Independent Publisher Book Award in Environment/Ecology
A 2020 Woodland Book of the Year
Finalist for the Association of American Publishers 2021 PROSE Award (Environmental Science)
„In this primer, a dendrochronologist explains how tree rings reveal the past via a science that exists “at the nexus of ecology, climatology and human history.”“ – New York Times
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