From the earliest pagan sites to modern urban cemeteries, burial grounds have always enjoyed a sacred, protected status in the history of society. Consequently they have become tranquil oases in which wildlife can flourish – a microcosm of the natural habitat long since disappeared from the surrounding area.
In Earth to Earth, Professor Stefan Buczacki uncovers the wild animals and plants that thrive amongst the headstones, from the graveyard beetle to the mighty yew. He also explores the history of churchyards and the landscape, as well as what can be done to conserve them for future generations. Accompanied by specially commissioned illustrations and selected quotations, this beautiful gift book reveals the natural secrets to be found in God's Acre.
Foreword by the Rt Rev Lord Harries 7
1. The History of Churchyards 13
2. The Churchyard in the Landscape 33
3. Plants and Fungi 51
4. The Churchyard Yew 71
5. Lichens 87
6. Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians 107
7. Birds and Small Creatures 121
8. Churchyard Conservation and Management 135
Further Reading 156
Professor Stefan Buczacki is a world-renowned botanist. He is one of the most experienced and prolific non-fiction authors in the country and as well as contributing to practically every major national newspaper and magazine, he has written around sixty books, including several standard works of reference. He also spent twelve unbroken years as panellist and Chairman on Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time. He was educated at the Universities of Southampton (First Class Honours in Botany) and Oxford (Doctorate in Forestry) and built up a distinguished academic research record before leaving to pursue a freelance career over thirty years ago. Stefan has special expertise in fungi and is double Past-President of the British Mycological Society, the largest learned society in the world devoted to their scientific study. He has received numerous academic awards and honorary degrees as well as the Veitch Memorial Medal in Gold of the Royal Horticultural Society and in 2013 the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Garden Media Guild.