From Publishers Weekly
Horticultural scientist Gillman (The Truth About Organic Gardening) examines the astounding longevity of trees. Beginning with a provocative opener comparing the fate of cows raised for meat to the life-span of trees cut down to make paper for books, Gillman delineates the incursions made by expanding development, commercial tree farms, air pollution and pests (encouraging sophisticated methods for controlling pests, like "a careful analysis of their sex life," to impede reproduction). Analyzing the life cycle of trees-their greatest vulnerability as juveniles, their hardy reproductive phase, the deceleration of growth as the distance from root to treetop increases-Gillman also highlights some amazing specimens, including the oldest tree alive today, a 9,500 year-old Norwegian oak. Gillman takes an interesting survey of trees grown from seeds and those grown commercially from shoots, grafts, cuttings, etc.; he also looks at "meristems," which play the same role in plants as stem cells do in animals (plants that are cloned, like the sheep Dolly, appear to die from premature aging). Written for the lay reader, this interesting scientific tour should capture the imagination of casual naturalists.
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About the Author
Jeff Gillman is associate professor of horticultural science at the University of Minnesota.