Standing in an old-growth forest, you can instinctively sense the ways it is different from forests shaped by humans. These ancient, undisturbed ecosystems are increasingly rare and largely misunderstood. Nature's Temples explores the science and alchemy of old-growth forests and makes a compelling case for their protection.
Many foresters are proponents of forest management while ecologists and conservation biologists believe that the healthiest forests are those we leave alone. Joan Maloof brings together the scientific data we have about old-growth forests, drawing on diverse fields of study to explain the ecological differences among forests of various ages. She describes the life forms and relationships that make old-growth forests unique – from salamanders and micro-snails to plants that communicate through fungi – and reveals why human attempts to manage forests can never replicate nature's sublime handiwork. Maloof invites you to discover the power of these fragile realms that are so inextricably connected to our planet, our fellow species, and our spirits.
With drawings by Andrew Joslin that illustrate scientific concepts and capture the remarkable beauty of ancient trees, this revised and expanded edition of Nature's Temples sheds new light on the special role forests play in removing carbon from the atmosphere and shares what we know about the interplay between wildfires and ancient forests.
Joan Maloof, PhD, is founder and director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, a national organization that works to save threatened forests, and professor emerita of biological sciences at Salisbury University. Her books include Treepedia (Princeton) and Teaching the Trees.
"Eloquently urges us to cherish the wildness of what little old-growth woodlands we have left."
– New York Times
"Forests are complex communities. [...] You can't plant a forest. Forests can, however, be destroyed. Joan Maloof knows all this as well as anyone and she delivers the message with the reverence appropriate to these upright cathedrals of time."
– Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words