cover image The Living Forest: A Journey into Nature’s Most Intricate Habitat

The Living Forest: A Journey into Nature’s Most Intricate Habitat

Joan Maloof, photos by Robert Llewellyn. Timber, $40 (248p) ISBN 978-1-60469-712-4

Arresting photographs combine with musings about the web of life in deciduous forests in this coffee-table book. According to Maloof, a professor of biology and environmental studies at Salisbury University, “The forest is not only something to be understood, it is also something to be felt.” She imbues the written portions of the book with colorful language that sometimes takes the tone of a fantastical children’s story, as when she encourages readers to enter “this world of tangible rainbows” to experience fall foliage. While some of the science is elementary, Maloof compensates by adding more-esoteric information, as with her extended discussion of the sensory powers of tree leaves or the fact that most of a hummingbird’s nutrition comes not from nectar but from insects and spiders. Llewellyn’s photography is gorgeous and includes aerial shots and close-ups of plants and animals. He presents the plants against a white background, easily drawing attention to elements of biodiversity described in the text. Surprisingly, there is only a brief statement on environmental preservation. The book provides a beautiful—if not deep—view of woodlands through the seasons. Color photos.[em] (Oct.) [/em]