Nature writer Mathews explores the devastating ripple effects of climate change and introduces readers to the people devoting their lives to saving our forests. He also offers hope: a new approach to managing western pine forests exists, and we may succeed in sustaining our forests through the challenging transition to a new environment.
This timely work, while sober reading, offers some hope and a few solutions as to how forests and their trees can adapt, with human help and support, to meet tougher times. Exhaustively researched with an extensive bibliography, this work does not skimp on information. Instead of focusing on just one aspect of the many issues facing western pine forests, Mathews interweaves them to create an overall picture, effectively showing how everything is coming together into a 'perfect storm' situation for forests, their trees, and animals that rely on the ecosystem of the forest. The one downside to the book itself is that the presentation of all this information is somewhat muddled, requiring a close reading for full comprehension ... Overall, an impressive and prescient addition to an ever-growing oeuvre on the effects of climate change to an environment.
... the title of this book should not be taken as alarmist hyperbole. Consummately professional in both tone and observation, the appeal of Mathews’ evaluation of these valuable conifer forests may skew slightly to the more scientifically minded reader, yet his deeply personal connection to the land and its majestic trees makes this equally suitable for any tree lover and everyone concerned about the state of the planet.
Natural historian Matthews...vividly relates the complex environmental situation facing America’s western pine forests in this fascinating account ... He is particularly good at articulating why environmentalists should 'enthusiastically accept... low- to moderate-severity fires' that thin out overgrown forests and reduce the fuel available for more serious blazes which humans have more difficulty controlling, and from which forests have difficulty recovering ... Eco-conscious readers, even those unversed in this seemingly niche subject, will be intrigued and enlightened by Matthews’s thoughtful work.