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Then, after the story came out, I met Milarch in person and he told me the idea to clone these big trees came to him after he had a Near Death Experience – that is, he had died and returned to his body. I was shocked – I had never heard of such a thing. He told me that he was deeply inspired to clone the trees by spirit beings he met during and after his experience.
I didn’t know what to think of his story, but all of the scientists I spoke with about his plan to clone trees thought it was spot on, a smart idea.
Q: Why did you feel his was an important story to tell?
A: Scientists can’t say that trees are in trouble – there isn’t enough data. But privately they think that many trees and forests are in trouble and things will get worse as the climate warms, perhaps much worse. But Milarch can say trees are in trouble from his unique perspective. So his tale became an important and intriguing way to tell this story. And it’s all backed up with interviews with scientists.
Q. What happened to your own forest?
A few years after I met Milarch the entire 15 acre forest of trees around my house in Montana started dying, and some of the trees were 300 and 400 years old. And they kept dying until they nearly all disappeared, not only on my property, but across swaths of Montana, and across much of the Rocky Mountain West. And it’s far worse in Canada. The beetles that kill trees are thriving because it’s getting much warmer.
The ancient bristlecone pines, the oldest trees on the planet, are also dying. If the oldest, toughest trees on the planet, living on mountain tops in the West, are dying, I thought, no tree is safe. What happens in 10 or 20 or 30 years if it gets a few degrees warmer? Yikes!
It may happen even sooner. Look what’s happening to the weather this year – temperatures are warmer all over the US, and meteorologists say they haven’t seen anything like it.
Telling Milarch’s tale and the story of dying trees became even more urgent after I saw the forest die-off in the West, and in my own backyard.
Q. What is Milarch’s plan for these giants he is cloning?
A. He hopes someday that people will plant one clone of these champions in the midst of hundreds of other regular trees as a way of beefing up the genetics of forests.
Q Why are trees important?
Milarch has often said that trees are more important than we know. And as I talked to scientists and read papers they confirmed that notion: we have underestimated the trees, vastly. They are a kind of eco-technology that sustains our lives here on the planet and that humans can’t duplicate. There is a whole range of ecosystem services provided by trees and forests that many people don’t know about. They filter our water and can clean up the nastiest kinds of toxic wastes. They soak up greenhouse gasses to mitigate climate change, protect us from harsh UV rays, and are a heat shield and natural air-conditioner for cities and suburbs. David Milarch talks about them as the filters of the planet. As we all know, when you take the filter out of your aquarium, the fish die.
Q: What can we do?
As Milarch says, trace back almost every environmental problem far enough and the solution is to plant trees. Trees are hope. But you can’t plant them just anywhere. It’s about strategically planting trees -- the right tree in the right place for the right reasons. The big question we need to figure out is what is the right tree to plant and where.
A Look Inside The Man Who Planted Trees
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I read this book very quickly as it was very interesting.
The book helps the reader realize that humans cannot live apart from nature but must protect and nurture the plants and animals that share the planet with us.
The crux of this story is nurseryman David Milarch, an interesting man who has made it his mission to save clones of each of America's 526 tree species.
Interesting bits of information about selected tree species. I was expecting more, and could have done without the coverage of the subjects near death experience.Published 2 months ago by Matthew McMillan
I read this book very quickly as it was very interesting. A native of northeast Indiana (Johnny Appleseed country), I have been fascinated by men like Chapman (Appleseed) and now... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Matthew Auman
I have purchased 3 copies for gifts and as I can, will purchase more. An inspired and well presented book, my favorite book to date followed by "The Global Forest" by Diane... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Carolyn Moody
This book is fantastic! Once you begin reading, you can't put it down. Very educational as well, I learned many things. I think everyone should read this book!Published 6 months ago by Patricia C. Rohan
This book is extremely interesting. The author walks you through a world that you think you know but you really ignore. It is easy and a joy to read. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Beautiful Watch
A very good and easy read that encourages a deeper look into the powerful role that trees play in our environment.Published 8 months ago by Carey Teemer
An absolutely wonderful book about trees. If anyone loves trees or loves environmental writing, this book is a must-have! Would make a great addition to any science library.Published 9 months ago by Anja L Hogan