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The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet


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  • "When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. The second best time? Today."-Chinese proverb
  • Is this guy nuts? Angels? Save the planet? Maybe, but he seems dedicated and true to a wonderful undertaking
  • A marvelous story
  • Hopeful
  • Uplifting
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The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet' has 'Some Saying' that "THIS BOOK JUST MIGHT HELP SAVE THE PLANET". The Man Who Planted Trees is not just another doomsday ecology book. It is more, much more. And yes it paints a bleak present but a possible bright future. Twenty years ago, David Milarch, a northern Michigan nurseryman with a penchant for hard living, had a vision: angels came to tell him that the earth was in trouble. Its trees were dying, and without them, human life was in jeopardy. The solution, they told him, was to clone the champion trees of the world-the largest, the hardiest, the ones that had survived millennia and were most resilient to climate change-and create a kind of Noah's ark of tree genetics. Without knowing if the message had any basis in science, or why he'd been chosen for this task, Milarch began his mission of cloning the world's great trees. Many scientists and tree experts told him it couldn't be done, but, twenty years later, his team has successfully cloned some of the world's oldest trees-among them giant redwoods and sequoias. They have also grown seedlings from the oldest tree in the world, the bristlecone pine Methuselah. When New York Times journalist Jim Robbins came upon Milarch's story, he was fascinated but had his doubts. Yet over several years, listening to Milarch and talking to scientists, he came to realize that there is so much we do not yet know about trees: how they die, how they communicate, the myriad crucial ways they filter water and air and otherwise support life on Earth. It became clear that as the planet changes, trees and forest are essential to assuring its survival. The Man Who Planted Trees is both a fascinating investigation into the world of trees and the inspiring story of one man's quest to help save the planet. This book's hopeful message of what one man can accomplish against all odds is also a lesson about how each of us has the ability t...

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  • ASIN: B00FPAYY9S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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The science is solid.
Serena Munn
As a person who has always loved trees and whose grandfather and father have always planted trees, I was moved to tears many times in reading this small volume.
Glenda Boozer
Jim Robbins has shared with all of us a story can change our lives as well as our planet.
Lynn Winter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Color Name: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book promises to mean as much to me as Masanobu Fukuoka's The One-Straw Revolution. The Man who planted trees doesn't have all the answers, but it starts to ask some of the questions.

Since it's a story for human beings to read, it is about human beings as well as trees, particularly about David Milarch, as unlikely a hero to save the planet as you're likely to find, except that he grew up working in the family tree nursery. Don't take his story at face value, but take it as you find it.

Of course, we can't have a story about a man who planted trees without talking about trees. Each one of these chapters is named for a tree, and the love of trees permeates every page. As a person who has always loved trees and whose grandfather and father have always planted trees, I was moved to tears many times in reading this small volume. Though some of the mystical ideas are just not going to fit into my current world view, I don't mind, as long as we get some trees planted!

Like me, you may be moved to tears, but like me, I hope that you are also moved to take action. Even if it's not the right time of year, even if the conditions aren't ideal, even if you can think of any number of other reasons not to, plant a tree! Plant a grapefruit seed in a paper cup full of dirt, if that's all you can do today. More plantings will follow.

I was going to suggest passing this book along after you've read it, but I won't be able to. I expect to find ideas, resources and inspiration in this book for a very long time to come.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert G Yokoyama VINE VOICE on February 23, 2012
Color Name: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jim Robbins convinces me that trees are one of nature's most valuable resources. He is a science writer for the New York Times. He uses his journalism background to explain how important and fascinating trees are. He explains in detail how the presence of trees can help preserve the beauty of the earth's environment. He also discusses how the absence of trees can be detrimental to the environment. I learned that the leaves on trees can take in air pollutants. I also learned that trees can absorb toxims found in rivers. The absence of trees can have the opposite on our rivers and the air we all breathe. The absence of trees raising the releasing carbon in the environment. This raises the temperature of the earth. I did not know any of these things. Robbins writing style is very detailed. He opens my eyes to the impact that trees have on the environment.

I learned that the bristlecone tree is the oldest tree. The existence of a bristle cone trees goes back 5000 years. I also learned that willow trees contain salicylic acid. This can be developed into medicine to treat ulcers, muscle pain and acne. Robbins touches on the fact that the presence of trees can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. This is all facinating bits of information. I wish he spent more time on this, but he does raise my interest in learning about these health issues.

This book is also partly a biography. It is about a man named David Milarch. He has dedicated his life to cloning and planting trees after having a near death experience. Champion trees are trees that are very tall and old. It is interesting reading about how different trees are cloned. Redwood trees are cloned by taking a sample of the needles on the top of the trees.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2012
Color Name: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
... I used to read Jean Giono's Man Who Planted Trees to my children, in French, in France, for bedtime. It was a wonderful, fully illustrated edition, and told the story of one shepherd, in the French Alps, who changed the devastated landscape of a remote French valley, which was an ecological nightmare, into a virtual "Garden of Eden," all by himself, because he planted thousands and thousands of trees. The tale demonstrated initiative, love and care for the natural world, how one person "can make a difference," and a slew of other feel-good ideas, all of which you hope to imbue your children with. As for the Garden of Eden at the end, well, it was a bit of a fairy tale, no harm there. Though I adamantly refuse to wear clothes emblazoned with corporate logos, if I saw a tee-shirt labeled "tree-hugger," I'd be more than happy to don it, because trees and forests resonate deep with my genes. And so, when this book, with the same title, popped up on my Vine listing, I had to punch the "Yes" button. Properly, Jim Robbins commences his book with a brief discussion of Giono's tale.

Then Robbins quickly introduces his "French shepherd," David Milarch, a shade tree nurseryman from Copemish, Michigan, near Traverse City. The introduction includes describing all the "warts," and there are a few, including alcoholism, and gang rumbles as a youth. Milarch also claims salvation, and a life-changing experience when his spirit left his body in what is referred to as a "near-death" experience. There are also substantial dollops of mysticism, with trees communicating in ways much stronger than the apparently relatively weak way they resonate with me.
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