cover image The Trees in My Forest

The Trees in My Forest

Bernd Heinrich. HarperCollins Publishers, $24 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017446-0

""The forest of Adams Hill has been my intimate companion and this book, in a sense, is its biography."" Heinrich's 20-year relationship with his plot of land in the Maine wilderness provides the inspiration for this collection of observations, reflections and ecology lessons. As the trees disperse seeds and project toward the light above the forest's canopy, Heinrich (A Year in the Maine Woods) trudges among them and watches with a trained forester and zoologist's questioning eye. Why are there more wind-pollinated than animal-pollinated trees in northern forests than in the tropics? How does a hummingbird know to look for food at the newly formed holes in a tree made by a sapsucker? These and other questions are answered in the course of Heinrich's rambles. With the onset of winter, the strategies trees use in their struggle to survive and reproduce in a frost are presented in absorbing detail. The white pine, which played a crucial role in the development of Maine's economy, gets its own chapter, incorporating a good deal of the area's history with it. Heinrich's pencil drawings, scattered throughout, give the text a journal-like feel and well illustrate his many comparisons among species. This is a deeply satisfying look into the ways and pleasures of the woods. (Oct.)