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The Forest Unseen

A Year's Watch in Nature

Haskell, David George

(Book - 2012)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Forest Unseen
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In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Each short chapter begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands--sometimes millions--of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home. Written with grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2012.
ISBN: 067002337X
9780670023370
Characteristics: iv, 268 p. ;,22 cm.

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Dec 16, 2014
  • sess430 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book of 245 pages consists of 44 short, stand-alone essays on nature that are informative, inspirational, entertaining and thought-provoking. I'd describe the writing as 'poetic prose'. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in nature. It makes me want to grab a handheld magnifier and take a walk in a nature preserve.

Seductive and delightful journey. Complete review here:
http://seattlesciencewriter.com/blog/read-the-forest-unseen/

Mar 13, 2013
  • cr421 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I am half way through this book and cannot put it down. While it is a bit choppy, the subject matter is one that we all experience around us and Haskell opens our eyes to see it all in a different way. Whether he is talking about how mosses hydrate or trees manage to get water up to their highest leaves, he does so with insight, humor and the ability to keep on interested in the matter at hand. While the format of a year in a place is old hat, he makes us experience his 'mandala' of land and invites us to share in its intimate secrets. A great read

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Many individual days of exploring the same yard of forest. Scientist with poetic grace examines fungi, birds, mosses, shrews and others who pass through the examined yard.

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The spinning maple seed that seems to helicopter through the forest is a samara. Maple samaras “live in a little-known border country between the aerodynamics of fast, large objects like cars and airplanes and the aerodynamics of slow, miniscule objects, like motes of dust.”

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