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“Far-ranging and deeply researched, Urban Forests reveals the beauty and significance of the trees around us.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction “Jonnes extols the many contributions that trees make to city life and celebrates the men and women who stood up for America’s city trees over the past two centuries. . . . An authoritative account.” —Gerard Helferich, The Wall Street Journal “We all know that trees can make streets look prettier. But in her new book Urban Forests, Jill Jonnes explains how they make them safer as well.” —Sara Begley, Time Magazine A celebration of urban trees and the Americans—presidents, plant explorers, visionaries, citizen activists, scientists, nurserymen, and tree nerds—whose arboreal passions have shaped and ornamented the nation’s cities, from Jefferson’s day to the present As nature’s largest and longest-lived creations, trees play an extraordinarily important role in our cities; they are 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 urban areas, surrounded by millions of trees of hundreds of different species. Despite their ubiquity and familiarity, most of us take trees for granted and know little of their fascinating natural history or remarkable civic virtues. Jill Jonnes’s Urban Forests tells the captivating stories of the founding mothers and fathers of urban forestry, in addition to those arboreal advocates presently using the latest technologies to illuminate the value of trees to public health and to our urban infrastructure. 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. For amateur botanists, urbanists, environmentalists, and policymakers, Urban Forests will be a revelation of one of the greatest, most productive, and most beautiful of our natural resources.
"Far-ranging and deeply researched, Urban Forests reveals the beauty and significance of the trees around us." --Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction "Jonnes extols the many contributions that trees make to city life and celebrates the men and women who stood up for America's city trees over the past two centuries. . . . An authoritative account." --Gerard Helferich, The Wall Street Journal "We all know that trees can make streets look prettier. But in her new book Urban Forests, Jill Jonnes explains how they make them safer as well." --Sara Begley, Time Magazine A celebration of urban trees and the Americans--presidents, plant explorers, visionaries, citizen activists, scientists, nurserymen, and tree nerds--whose arboreal passions have shaped and ornamented the nation's cities, from Jefferson's day to the present As nature's largest and longest-lived creations, trees play an extraordinarily important role in our cities; they are 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 urban areas, surrounded by millions of trees of hundreds of different species. Despite their ubiquity and familiarity, most of us take trees for granted and know little of their fascinating natural history or remarkable civic virtues. Jill Jonnes's Urban Forests tells the captivating stories of the founding mothers and fathers of urban forestry, in addition to those arboreal advocates presently using the latest technologies to illuminate the value of trees to public health and to our urban infrastructure. 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. For amateur botanists, urbanists, environmentalists, and policymakers, Urban Forests will be a revelation of one of the greatest, most productive, and most beautiful of our natural resources.
"A volume for a lifetime" is how The New Yorker described the first of Donald Culross Peatie's two books about American trees published in the 1950s. In this one-volume edition, modern readers are introduced to one of the best nature writers of the last century. As we read Peattie's eloquent and entertaining accounts of American trees, we catch glimpses of our country's history and past daily life that no textbook could ever illuminate so vividly. Here you'll learn about everything from how a species was discovered to the part it played in our country’s history. Pioneers often stabled an animal in the hollow heart of an old sycamore, and the whole family might live there until they could build a log cabin. The tuliptree, the tallest native hardwood, is easier to work than most softwood trees; Daniel Boone carved a sixty-foot canoe from one tree to carry his family from Kentucky into Spanish territory. In the days before the Revolution, the British and the colonists waged an undeclared war over New England's white pines, which made the best tall masts for fighting ships. It's fascinating to learn about the commercial uses of various woods -- for paper, fine furniture, fence posts, matchsticks, house framing, airplane wings, and dozens of other preplastic uses. But we cannot read this book without the occasional lump in our throats. The American elm was still alive when Peattie wrote, but as we read his account today we can see what caused its demise. Audubon's portrait of a pair of loving passenger pigeons in an American beech is considered by many to be his greatest painting. It certainly touched the poet in Donald Culross Peattie as he depicted the extinction of the passenger pigeon when the beech forest was destroyed. A Natural History of North American Trees gives us a picture of life in America from its earliest days to the middle of the last century. The information is always interesting, though often heartbreaking. While Peattie looks for the better side of man's nature, he reports sorrowfully on the greed and waste that have doomed so much of America's virgin forest.
Urban forests, trees and greenspace are critical in contemporary planning and development of the city. Their study is not only a question of the growth and conservation of green spaces, but also has social, cultural and psychological dimensions. This book brings a perspective of political ecology to the complexities of urban trees and forests through three themes: human agency in urban forests and greenspace; arboreal and greenspace agency in the urban landscape; and actions and interventions in the urban forest. Contributors include leading authorities from North America and Europe from a range of disciplines, including forestry, ecology, geography, landscape design, municipal planning, environmental policy and environmental history.
Forests—and the trees within them—have always been a central resource for the development of technology, culture, and the expansion of humans as a species. Examining and challenging our historical and modern attitudes toward wooded environments, this engaging book explores how our understanding of forests has transformed in recent years and how it fits in our continuing anxiety about our impact on the natural world. Drawing on the most recent work of historians, ecologist geographers, botanists, and forestry professionals, Charles Watkins reveals how established ideas about trees—such as the spread of continuous dense forests across the whole of Europe after the Ice Age—have been questioned and even overturned by archaeological and historical research. He shows how concern over woodland loss in Europe is not well founded—especially while tropical forests elsewhere continue to be cleared—and he unpicks the variety of values and meanings different societies have ascribed to the arboreal. Altogether, he provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary overview of humankind’s interaction with this abused but valuable resource.
“Superb. [A] first-rate narrative” (The Wall Street Journal) about the controversial construction of New York’s beloved original Penn Station and its tunnels, from the author of Eiffel's Tower and Urban Forests As bestselling books like Ron Chernow's Titan and David McCullough's The Great Bridge affirm, readers are fascinated with the grand personalities and schemes that populated New York at the close of the nineteenth century. Conquering Gotham re- creates the riveting struggle waged by the great Pennsylvania Railroad to build Penn Station and the monumental system of tunnels that would connect water-bound Manhattan to the rest of the continent by rail. Historian Jill Jonnes tells a ravishing tale of snarling plutocrats, engineering feats, and backroom politicking packed with the most colorful figures of Gilded Age New York. Conquering Gotham will be featured in an upcoming episdoe of PBS's American Experience. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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