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Trees

An Illustrated Celebration

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Discover the wonder of trees—one of the most essential life forms on the planet—in this beautifully illustrated, entertaining, and educational guide from the acclaimed author of What We See in the Stars.

Trees are fascinating: The oldest living organism on Earth is a tree, and forest biomes cover one-third of the Earth’s surface. Trees provide fruit, spices, nuts, timber, shade, habitats, and oxygen, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They can tap into fungal networks in the soil to care for each other by trading water and nutrients and to warn one another of drought and disease.

In Trees: An Illustrated Celebration, celebrated artist and author Kelsey Oseid shows us just how vital trees are to the health and beauty of our planet. Her striking naturalistic art is accompanied by fun scientific facts: Some trees have thinner root hairs than human hairs; tree rings provide important information on supernovae and climate change; and you can identify many trees from their leaf shape alone. The world's most stunning, strange, and noteworthy trees—from mangroves and redwoods to baobabs and dragon trees—come to life in Oseid's elegant and playful style.

Filled with captivating information and vivid, colorful illustrations, Trees: An Illustrated Celebration will delight and inspire nature lovers of all ages.
© Gustav Hoiland
KELSEY OSEID is an illustrator, painter, artist, and amateur naturalist. She has illustrated a variety of children's books and runs an online shop where she sells prints and original pieces of her nature-themed work. Her work has been featured on Design*Sponge, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Everglow Handmade, and in magazines like Organic LifeAnthology, and Good Housekeeping. She is the author of What We See in the Stars. View titles by Kelsey Oseid
Introduction

We originated in the trees—our ancient ancestors lived arboreally, and we developed the hands and limbs we have today by swinging from branch to branch. Early humans continued the relationship with trees, using them not just for food, shelter, and fuel, but also as sacred final resting sites, burying their dead within hollowed-out tree trunks. Countless cultures have a concept of a mythical world tree, a gigantic tree that connects the terrestrial world with spiritual realms. World trees are depicted as any number of species, depending on the geographic source of a specific myth, and are often shown with their branches spreading up into a divine cosmos and their roots reaching down into an underworld.

In modern times and urban settings, it’s easy to take trees for granted or even forget about them altogether. Many of us have never planted, pruned, or tended to a tree in any way. We can go all day without glimpsing so much as a single branch. And while much of our food and shelter still come from trees, we are often so removed from the harvest that we forget how much of our nourishment and other comforts originated among the branches.

While we’ve become distanced from trees in our daily lives, our scientific understanding of them is flourishing. Recently, scientists have studied the ways trees talk to each other through the transmission of invisible airborne chemicals that can trigger neighboring trees to ward off pests. Studies have shown how certain trees share nutrients through complex underground networks of roots and partnering fungi. The more arboreal mysteries that we untangle, the more we seem to discover. While it shocks mainstream culture to find that trees communicate, these discoveries hearken back to longheld Indigenous knowledge. Biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation points to a legacy of collaboration between humans and trees in which it was understood that trees talked to each other.

With more and more of us becoming city dwellers, removed from wilderness altogether, how can we find communion with the trees? While many people may no longer live in and among the forests, trees are among the largest life forms we can meet in person. A direct relationship with trees may not be possible for everyone, but learning and celebrating the ways that we know trees to be important, amazing, and beautiful is a great place to start. This book is a celebration of the diversity of trees on Earth, their evolutionary history, their surprising and sometimes strange beauty, and the ways humans have understood and interacted with them since ancient times.

About

Discover the wonder of trees—one of the most essential life forms on the planet—in this beautifully illustrated, entertaining, and educational guide from the acclaimed author of What We See in the Stars.

Trees are fascinating: The oldest living organism on Earth is a tree, and forest biomes cover one-third of the Earth’s surface. Trees provide fruit, spices, nuts, timber, shade, habitats, and oxygen, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They can tap into fungal networks in the soil to care for each other by trading water and nutrients and to warn one another of drought and disease.

In Trees: An Illustrated Celebration, celebrated artist and author Kelsey Oseid shows us just how vital trees are to the health and beauty of our planet. Her striking naturalistic art is accompanied by fun scientific facts: Some trees have thinner root hairs than human hairs; tree rings provide important information on supernovae and climate change; and you can identify many trees from their leaf shape alone. The world's most stunning, strange, and noteworthy trees—from mangroves and redwoods to baobabs and dragon trees—come to life in Oseid's elegant and playful style.

Filled with captivating information and vivid, colorful illustrations, Trees: An Illustrated Celebration will delight and inspire nature lovers of all ages.

Author

© Gustav Hoiland
KELSEY OSEID is an illustrator, painter, artist, and amateur naturalist. She has illustrated a variety of children's books and runs an online shop where she sells prints and original pieces of her nature-themed work. Her work has been featured on Design*Sponge, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Everglow Handmade, and in magazines like Organic LifeAnthology, and Good Housekeeping. She is the author of What We See in the Stars. View titles by Kelsey Oseid

Excerpt

Introduction

We originated in the trees—our ancient ancestors lived arboreally, and we developed the hands and limbs we have today by swinging from branch to branch. Early humans continued the relationship with trees, using them not just for food, shelter, and fuel, but also as sacred final resting sites, burying their dead within hollowed-out tree trunks. Countless cultures have a concept of a mythical world tree, a gigantic tree that connects the terrestrial world with spiritual realms. World trees are depicted as any number of species, depending on the geographic source of a specific myth, and are often shown with their branches spreading up into a divine cosmos and their roots reaching down into an underworld.

In modern times and urban settings, it’s easy to take trees for granted or even forget about them altogether. Many of us have never planted, pruned, or tended to a tree in any way. We can go all day without glimpsing so much as a single branch. And while much of our food and shelter still come from trees, we are often so removed from the harvest that we forget how much of our nourishment and other comforts originated among the branches.

While we’ve become distanced from trees in our daily lives, our scientific understanding of them is flourishing. Recently, scientists have studied the ways trees talk to each other through the transmission of invisible airborne chemicals that can trigger neighboring trees to ward off pests. Studies have shown how certain trees share nutrients through complex underground networks of roots and partnering fungi. The more arboreal mysteries that we untangle, the more we seem to discover. While it shocks mainstream culture to find that trees communicate, these discoveries hearken back to longheld Indigenous knowledge. Biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation points to a legacy of collaboration between humans and trees in which it was understood that trees talked to each other.

With more and more of us becoming city dwellers, removed from wilderness altogether, how can we find communion with the trees? While many people may no longer live in and among the forests, trees are among the largest life forms we can meet in person. A direct relationship with trees may not be possible for everyone, but learning and celebrating the ways that we know trees to be important, amazing, and beautiful is a great place to start. This book is a celebration of the diversity of trees on Earth, their evolutionary history, their surprising and sometimes strange beauty, and the ways humans have understood and interacted with them since ancient times.