Cover image for Urban forests : a natural history of trees and people in the American cityscape
Urban forests : a natural history of trees and people in the American cityscape
Jonnes, Jill, 1952- author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Penguin Books, [2016]

Physical Description:
xx, 394 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
"Nature's largest and longest-lived creations, trees play an extraordinarily important role in our cityscapes, living landmarks that define space, cool the air, soothe our psyches, and connect us to nature and our past. Today, four fifths of Americans live in or near cities, surrounded by millions of trees, urban forests containing hundreds of species. Despite the ubiquity and familiarity of those trees, most of us take them for granted and know little of their specific natural history or civic virtues. Jill Jonnes's Urban Forests is a passionate, wide-ranging, and fascinating natural history of the tree in American cities over the course of the past two centuries. Jonnes's survey ranges from early sponsors for the Urban Tree Movement to the fascinating stories of particular species (including Washington, DC's famed cherry trees, and the American chestnut and elm, and the diseases that almost destroyed them) to the institution of Arbor Day to the most recent generation of tree evangelists who are identifying the best species to populate our cities' leafy canopies. The book examines such questions as the character of American urban forests and the effect that tree-rich landscaping might have on commerce, crime, and human well-being. As we wrestle with how to repair the damage we have wrought on nature and how to slow climate change, urban forests offer an obvious, low-tech solution. (In 2006, U.S. Forest Service scientist Greg McPherson and his colleagues calculated that New York City's 592,000 street trees annually saved $28 million in energy costs through shading and cooling, or $47.63 per tree.)"
Introduction. "We appreciate the symmetry of human and sylvan life" -- "So great a botanical curiosity" and "the celestial tree" : introducing the ginkgo and ailanthus -- "No man does anything more visibly useful to posterity than he who plants a tree" : inventing Arbor Day and cities of trees -- "A demi-god of trees" and "the tree doctor" : Charles Sprague Sargent and John Davey -- "This fungus is the most rapid and destructive known" : a plague strikes the American chestnut -- "Washington would one day be famous for its flowering cherry trees" : Eliza Scidmore and David Fairchild -- "I knew that there were no roads in China" : plant explorers Frank Meyer and E.H. Wilson -- "A poem lovely as a tree" : cherishing memorial and historic trees -- "The two great essentials for an arboretum, soil and money" : Chicago, D.C., and Boston -- "Imagine the wiping out of the beautiful avenues of elms" : battling to save an American icon -- "A forest giant just on the edge of extinction!" : discovering the dawn redwood -- "There was no question that people wanted to save this tree" : crusading for a new American elm -- "Having cities work with forces of nature" : the rise of the new urban forestry -- "Trees are the answer" : John Hansel, Henry Stern, Deborah Gangloff, and George Bush -- "Don't trees clean the air?" : Rowan Rowntree, Greg McPherson, and David Nowak -- "We stand a great chance of seeing a return of the stately and valuable American elm" : rebirth of an iconic tree? -- "I never saw such a bug in my life" : attack of the Asian long-horned beetles -- "On that branch was a four-inch green shoot with leaves" : Ground Zero survivor trees -- "I was surprised it was so aggressive" : waging war on the emerald ash borer -- "Putting in an urban forest instead of a storm drain" : high-tech meets a million trees -- "Help restore a lost piece of American history" : return of the elm -- "Oh, my God! They're really here" : further conquests of the Asian beetles -- "A tree is shaped by its experiences" : the survivor trees -- Afterword. "The answer is urban forests".

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