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Trees: Their Natural History [Paperback]

P. A. Thomas
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 58.95
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Book Description

Feb. 13 2000 052145963X 978-0521459631
Trees are vital to the healthy functioning of the global ecosystem and unparalleled in the range of materials they provide for human use. This volume is a comprehensive introduction to the natural history of trees, with information on all aspects of tree biology and ecology in easy-to-read and concise language. Peter Thomas uncovers fascinating insights into these ubiquitous plants, addressing in an illuminating way questions such as how trees are designed, how they grow and reproduce, and why they eventually die. Written for a nontechnical audience, the book is nonetheless rigorous in its treatment and a valuable source of reference for beginning students as well as interested lay readers.

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Review

"Affable study...packed with information and peppered with interesting facts...clean, upbeat prose." Publishers Weekly

"Thomas has the wonderful ability to mix in the odd but interesting fact to illustrate key ideas, all while maintaining a readable style...Trees is highly recommended, a fundamental book for all university libraries. Undergraduates through professionals." Choice

"...this book was a pleasure to read. I will order it for my forest ecology class." The Quarterly Review of Biology

"Written for non-specialists, this book provides a pleasantly readable introduction to what is known about trees. Well-written. A fine book for any library." Northeastern Naturalist

"[V]ery good, interesting and loaded with an impressive amount of information...pleasant to read and refreshing. The sense of humour of Dr. Thomas certainly has a lot to do with that. The book is without question a must for all undergraduate students interested in any aspect of tree biology and evolution." Ecoscience

Book Description

Trees are familiar components of many landscapes, yet how much do we really understand about how they work? This book provides the only modern introduction to the natural history of trees, presenting information on all aspects of tree biology and ecology in an easy to read and concise text. Written for a non-technical audience, the book is nonetheless rigorous in its treatment and will provide a valuable source of reference for beginning students as well as those with a less formal interest in this fascinating group of plants.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Everyone knows what a tree is: a large woody thing that provides shade. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn 1,000 new things!!! Oct. 17 2001
Format:Hardcover
This is an amazing book!! Every page expands what you thought you knew. How do they get that water up 100+ feet? Why are trees deciduous? (Better questions are how many ways they are deciduous, and why, and what does deciduous really mean anyway?) This will make any hike you take more interesting, any tree rings you inspect simply fascinating.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Root and branch! Aug. 21 2000
Format:Paperback
Trees: Their Natural History by Peter Thomas is a significant book for any student of trees or enthusiast for dendrology. The structure, function and life-cycle of trees is covered with warmth, perception and with authority. The writing is accessible although there are perhaps a few too many jokes. Despite this drawback the book is full of good reference material, thankfully lacking the homey philosophy and proselytizing of other writers in aboriculture.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Root and branch! Aug. 21 2000
By C. H. Hinton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Trees: Their Natural History by Peter Thomas is a significant book for any student of trees or enthusiast for dendrology. The structure, function and life-cycle of trees is covered with warmth, perception and with authority. The writing is accessible although there are perhaps a few too many jokes. Despite this drawback the book is full of good reference material, thankfully lacking the homey philosophy and proselytizing of other writers in aboriculture.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn 1,000 new things!!! Oct. 17 2001
By Michael Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an amazing book!! Every page expands what you thought you knew. How do they get that water up 100+ feet? Why are trees deciduous? (Better questions are how many ways they are deciduous, and why, and what does deciduous really mean anyway?) This will make any hike you take more interesting, any tree rings you inspect simply fascinating.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intended as a college text but good for the general reader May 26 2007
By Arthur Digbee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Peter Thomas wrote this book because he teaches about trees and he couldn't find a textbook that he liked. This book clearly fits that particular niche. It's intended as an introductory text for undergraduates, so it's also written at an appropriate level for the general reader.

You'd expect it to be boring, but it isn't. He presents the material in a lively and interesting fashion. Thomas starts with food production (leaves), water transportation (trunk and branches), and the scaffolding that holds a tree up. Along the way, you'll find answers to all those questions that three year olds might ask their parents - - how does the bark stretch when a tree adds a ring? How do apple blossoms turn into apples? Why do quaking aspen leaves quake?

If those questions interest you, you'll enjoy the book. It's organized conceptually and analytically, not around those kinds of questions, but you'll learn the answers along the way. You'll also learn all sorts of other things.

Because Thomas intended it for classroom use, by the later chapters he regularly cross-references concepts and processes that he introduced at the beginning of the book. I'd forgotten some of them, and that was frustrating. If I had been taking a class on trees, my teaching assistant or professor could have clarified, and Thomas clearly wrote the book on the assumption that readers would have such people available. In a revised edition, more gentle reminders for the general reader would be helpful. A glossary of terms wouldn't hurt either.

All in all, though, it's a very good book - - I'd give it a 4.5 if I could. Enjoy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, best I've found Nov. 1 2007
By Zoe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have the books by Dirr, the incomparable woody plant specialist--but I needed a basic text to learn how to take care of trees...and Dirr (and all other horticultural texts) barely touch on the specifics of tree growth/needs.

Thomas writes with an intelligent, yet easily accessible, non condescending voice. Yes, there are Latin terms but not so many that you stop to look in the glossary or a dictionary every other sentence.

Also, there is no "preaching" here about the evils of clear-cutting, etc. (You can find many of those books ...but a basic and thorough text has been difficult to find until now.) This is an excellent resource for the serious gardener who wants factual, yet enjoyable, book about the life of trees--and thereby acquire the knowledge necessary for proper care. However, I don't want to mislead anyone: there is not a lengthy discussion of fertilizers, pest control, pruning etc....yet there are discussions regarding tree roots and sewers, house foundations etc.

In other words, reading this book and gaining an understanding the natural history of trees one can then make intelligent decisions regarding their care and maintenance--and recognize which arborists and/or tree care "professionals" to hire or stay away from.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative. May 12 2007
By Robert Blakey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a very good read. It was obvious the author had a passion for the subject, and that made it to the pages. A nice balance was struck between technical terms and the needs of the layman. I had to look a few terms up, but the author made a good habit of explaining things that a non botanist would understand.
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