Please note that this book is reissued in paperback by HarperCollins with the title How Trees Can Save the World.
Trees can survive without humans, but we can't live without trees. Even if human-caused climate change devastates our planet, the trees will return – as they do, always and everywhere, even after ice ages, catastrophic fires, destructive storms, and deforestation. It would just be nice if we could be around to see them flourish.
The Power of Trees is forester Peter Wohlleben's follow-up to The Hidden Life of Trees, a New York Times bestseller that sold millions of copies worldwide. The Power of Trees is as fascinating and eye-opening as it is trenchant in its critique: on the one hand, Wohlleben describes astonishing discoveries about how trees pass knowledge down to succeeding generations and their ability to survive climate change; on the other, he is unsparing in his criticism of those who wield economic and political power – who plant trees exclusively for the sake of logging and virtue-signalling, even as they ruthlessly exploit nature.
The Power of Trees is a love letter to the forest and a passionate argument for protecting nature's boundless diversity, not only for the trees, but also for ourselves.
Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.
Peter Wohlleben is one of the world’s most notable foresters and a passionate advocate for tree conservation. Wohlleben lives in Germany, where he manages an ecologically conscious forest and runs an academy for education and advocacy. His books are bestsellers around the world.
"If we don't learn to leave the trees alone, the trees will eventually be alone anyway – but without us. Wohlleben brilliantly and readably shows us how urgent and how hard it is to do nothing."
"Forester and bestselling environmental writer Wohlleben (Forest Walking, 2022) draws largely on observations of his home territory in Germany in this thoughtful look at how trees learn and adapt [...] the forest is often the last recipient of humanity's benevolence. The author is in his element here as a gentle purveyor of knowledge that provides a new perspective on a crucially important topic. His many fans will be enthused, and new readers will appreciate entering Wohlleben's evocative world."
"In clear, vivid prose and with impeccable reasoning, Peter Wohlleben makes a compelling case that almost everything we do in modern forestry management may be dead wrong. What should we do instead? Let the wisdom of the trees quell our human arrogance, heal the forest, and restore our sweet, green world."
– Sy Montgomery, author of How to Be A Good Creature
"Trees, says Peter Wohlleben, have wisdom. So does he. In this magisterial take on how forests can save the planet from our worst endeavours, the German forester warns us against the hubris of tree planting. For their forest wisdom is greater than ours. Planting is usually bad, a 'giant PR operation.' Instead, he says, the world needs the quiet magic of natural forest restoration. We are, at best, stewards of the world's forests. We must stand back and let them grow."
– Fred Pearce, author of A Trillion Trees: How We Can Reforest Our World
"The Power of Trees sends a powerful message that humankind will not survive unless we revolutionize the way we conserve and manage our planet's dwindling forests. Through eye-opening stories, Wohlleben underscores how trees and the biodiversity of the natural world present us with critically important solutions to the climate crisis. [It is an important wakeup call for individuals and large-scale forest managers alike!]"
– Jeffrey Horowitz, founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners and founding trustee of the Jane Goodall Legacy Foundation
"Wohlleben continues to provide convincing and concrete research-based reasons why trees, and more specifically old growth forests, are critical to the health and survival of our planet and all that lives upon it [...] I would call this a must read for everyone!"
– Cori Cusker, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff
"Peter Wohlleben is such a prolific author, you may look at The Power of Trees and wonder what he could possibly have left to say and move on. You'd be mistaken [...] A vital and important read for anyone who cares about our collective future on this planet."
– Tom Beans, Dudley's Bookshop Cafe, Bend
"An urgent and informative book that advocates for a new approach to managing forests that recognizes their complex nature as ecosystems rather than mere warehouses for wood [...] Wohlleben has faith that forests can rebound. He just hopes we'll still be around."
– Suzanne Morgan, Politics & Prose, Washington
"Wohlleben speaks to the importance of our ancient trees and forests. Rather than planting forests of new trees, he explains the huge benefits to be gained from stepping back and allowing the trees to do it themselves. Through his meticulous research and observation, he has discovered the extent to which ancient trees accumulate knowledge and pass it on the younger generations. If we can only trust them, and curb the desire to interfere, they have the power to heal our planet. Highly Recommended!"
– Becky Doherty, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs
"From the "tree whisperer" (my nickname for Peter Wohlleben) comes his latest reveal of what it means to be a tree and what it means to be humans who are dependent on trees for our well-being [...] Whether you've read his previous bestseller – The Hidden Life of Trees – or are just now discovering the wonders of his writing, you'll get a real education out of this new book [...] I really want you to read this!"
– Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane
"Wohlleben has taken off his gloves and has named the enemy: foresters, and associated players like government agencies, lumber companies, lobbyists, PLUS the heavy machinery that kills soil for centuries (think of still-visible Roman roads) [...] Wohlleben has nailed the solution in just a few strokes. FABULOUS!!!"
– Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee