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Environment Book Review: 'Into the Forest' - The Secret Language of Trees

Updated: Nov 12, 2023


Photograph of the Book ' Into The Forest' - The Secret Language of Trees by Susan Tyler Hitchcock


Environment Book Review: 'Into the Forest' - The Secret Language of Trees by Susan Tyler Hitchcock


Environment has always fascinated souls for centuries. Our world is facing a shortage of food, water and energy. Day in and day out we are in search of non-renewables which can cater to the huge global population needs. We need to run our business as well as meet the increasing demand. But that again leaves us with the odd question, if we are in the process of doing business as usual and wait till the world's resources come to an end? The time has come when we need to roughly estimate how much time we have, till we end up using these non-renewables.


Environmental stress creates ecological deficits and leads the world towards finding alternatives and it becomes clear that these also generate fiscal deficits. Agriculture, Water, Energy, Food are the key to GDP of a country and less rainfall means loss in all these sectors. Hence Ecological and Economic deficits are shaping our present as well as our future. The threat to our future generations is not war, but shortage of water, food and energy.


In many countries there is a concept of carbon tax which is a fee imposed on burning of carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas). More to the point, a carbon tax is the core policy for reducing and eventually eliminating the use of fossil fuels whose combustion is destabilizing and destroying our climate. However, it is not the only way to reduce global warming and other related environmental disturbances. There are other ways also to reduce carbon footprint at the personal level by planting small plants in your surroundings, switching off to less electricity and using solar powered lamps for lighting at night, keeping some organic plantation for foods, taking more public transport instead of one’s own vehicles etc. This and many more can be done at the personal level but what about those initiatives which can be done on an Industrial level?



Photograph of Trees In a Park at New Delhi


Personally, I feel that we need to plant trees and save our forests from damage. The book written by Susan Tyler Hitchcock, ‘Into the Forest’ The Secret Language of Trees by Susan Tyler Hitchcock is a wonderful illustration about Forests, Trees, The Flora and Fauna of the ecosystem. It is to be noted that these Forests have immaculately served the life on earth through it’s products like oxygen and by influencing the local climate. The word ‘gratitude’ also can not describe the goodness of these species which for thousands of years, the trees have bestowed on us.


As per the book, it is said that the US Forest service calculates that a one-dollar investment in city tree planting could bring a return of $3.09 annually. Over 20 years, their analysis has shown, one red maple tree in Ohio removes 3,100 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reduces carbon emissions by 5500 pounds , which saves 570 kilowatt-hours of electricity, and filters 15 pounds of harmful volatiles from the air. Such is the benefit of trees and forests.


As per one of the United Nations Report, only a bit more than a quarter of Earth’s total forest area is primary forest. Some are temperate hardwood forests which are found in Bialowieza Forest of Belarus and Poland. Interestingly, the only remaining home of the European Bison is these forests which are mentioned. Then there are forests which are temperate rainforests, with their flora and streams where salmon spawn. The Gondwana Rainforests, a system of subtropical rainforest reserves, represents the last vestiges of an ancient primary forest; here, plant and animal species have the ability to reveal the ages in Earth’s evolution.


There are various types of forests and the same need to be protected. As far as my thought goes, the old forests need to be protected. As per the State of the World’s Forests 2022, by Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations states in the The State of the World Forest states that about 140 countries pledged to eliminate forest loss by 2030 and to support restoration and sustainable forestry. The State of the World's Forest 2022 presents evidence on the feasibility and value of these pathways and outlines initial steps that could be taken to further pursue them.


As per Susan Tyler Hitchcock, we are simply obsessed with wood and we don’t even think where it comes from. In her words in the book;


Wood is so much a part of our built world that we don’t even think about where it comes from; it’s simply there. Yet the global demand for wood products is constant and growing. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization, in 2019 the world production of wood primarily for carpentry and construction - logs, boards, plywood, and particleboard- totaled 2866 million cubic meters: a volume greater than the water in a million Olympic-size swimming pools. That’s a lot of trees.

Through this beautiful book, Hitchcock said that we need to return and relearn from the forest and then we can understand the complexity and interconnection of these wonderful species on earth. These forests are home to many species and do provide us oxygen for which we are living. We need to take care of the forests as per the Aboriginals as Suzanne Simard writes, “many are one, and the one comprises many’. The author encourages us to go into the forest and open our hearts, minds and senses. We need to protect our forest and learn from their interrelationships.



Photograph of the Book ' Into The Forest' - The Secret Language of Trees by Susan Tyler Hitchcock


Susan Tyler Hitchcock is a writer and editor specializing in science, nature and history. She has a Ph.D in English and is the author of 13 books. Suzanne Simard is a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia and the author of New York Times best selling Finding the Mother Tree : Discovering the Wisdom of Forest.


I read the book and if I have to rate the book on 10 Stars and 10 being the highest, I will give the book 9 stars.

(Please Note: The above are my own personal thoughts after going through the book. Your views, facts, and opinions after reading the book may differ)


This is all from me in this short article. Hope you have liked my personal thoughts and opinions. Please share your thoughts or comments on the Book Review and Book Recommendation of the book, ‘Into the Forest’ - The Secret Language of Trees by Susan Tyler Hitchcock.


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