For the last 50 years, the trees of the boreal forest have been moving north. Ben Rawlence's The Treeline takes us along this critical frontier of our warming planet from Norway to Siberia, Alaska to Greenland, Canada to Sweden to meet the scientists, residents and trees confronting huge geological changes. Only the hardest species survive at these latitudes including the ice-loving Dahurian larch of Siberia, the antiseptic Spruce that purifies our atmosphere, the Downy birch conquering Scandinavia, the healing Balsam poplar that Native Americans use as a cure-all and the noble Scots Pine that lives longer when surrounded by its family.
... important ... The book is at times a bit of a slog. Rawlence occasionally repeats himself. He presupposes a level of scientific knowledge (and vocabulary) not every reader will bring ... But it is worth the effort. We're already beginning to feel the impact of climate change through droughts, food insecurity and supply chain problems. Rawlence offers no solution, but notes that understanding the danger we face and 'accepting that the status quo is irretrievable is also the door to action.'
A grand investigation ... [Rawlence's] literary perspective, notable for its range of sources, is compelling, intriguing, and thoroughly engaging. Rawlence brings trees to the forefront of the climate-change war, conjuring images of zombie forests, grandmother trees, and the forestry management heroes dedicated to their cause. A title of the utmost importance at a time of tremendous peril, The Treeline is a game-changer.
Rawlence evokes the natural world in lyrical, delicate prose ... Rawlence offers no solutions for changes to come, only hope 'in shared endeavor, in transformation, in meaningful work for the common good.' Harper’s botanical drawings complement the text ... A timely, urgent message delivered in graceful fashion.