In this magnificently illustrated book, conservationist and celebrated outdoors photographer Tim Palmer launches us on a revealing journey among the hemlock and beech trees that have for millennia towered over America's eastern woodlands.
The eastern hemlock and North American beech once thrived from Maine to Georgia, casting shade on trout streams, nourishing wildlife large and small, and gracing uncounted valleys, mountainsides, parks, and backyards. These trees now face tragic decimation by exotic insects and pathogens. Palmer's photos record the splendor of the cherished hemlock and beech in the same way that pictures of iconic, historic buildings commemorate classic landmarks gone the way of the wrecking ball. And yet, as Palmer underscores in his final chapter, the lessons learned as we address the fate of these trees can help us chart a better course for all wooded landscapes in the years ahead. This story of loss, scientific inquiry, and prospective recovery is vital to understanding nature in our time.
As an act of artistic preservation, a report on the science vital to the survival of these trees, and a call to action, Twilight of the Hemlocks and Beeches assures a lasting legacy for this irreplaceable forest community. With more than one hundred exquisite full-color photographs, this book is a must-have for outdoor enthusiasts, natural historians, ecologists, and all lovers of nature.
Tim Palmer, an award-winning author and photographer, has written and photographed twenty-six books about the environment, forests, and adventure travel.
"The noble beech and the mighty hemlock help define the forest I've spent my life wandering; that they are now facing ruin is one more sadness in the great sadness settling over the planet. One is enormously grateful to the author for capturing their meaning and beauty; we should do all that we can to keep them healthy."
– Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
"Palmer's prose is as vivid and beautiful as his photographs. Both capture and hold for future generations a little of what we are losing in our shady, magical beech and hemlock groves. This bittersweet celebration and elegy is not to be missed by anyone who loves nature."
– Ted Williams, environmental journalist
"Two of America's great trees are being crippled, leaving our forested landscape poised for transformation. The photos in this volume capture the majesty and singular role of the eastern hemlock and American beech in settings across their range, while the insightful text offers the detailed story of their lives and our future loss."
– David Foster, director of the Harvard Forest
"Tim Palmer's breathtaking photography perfectly captures the magic of Pennsylvania's state tree, whether seen in an ancient grove or meandering along streambanks and waterways in the Commonwealth. His images and prose will inspire us all to work on building resilience in adapting to the impacts of climate change and to do what we can to save these majestic trees."
– Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources