Animals don''t exist to teach us things, but that is what they have always done, and most of what they teach us is what we think we know about ourselves. From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk comes Vesper Flights , a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world. Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best-loved writing along with new pieces covering a thrilling range of subjects. There are essays here on headaches, on catching swans, on hunting mushrooms, on twentieth-century spies, on numinous experiences and high-rise buildings; on nests and wild pigs and the tribulations of farming ostriches. Vesper Flights is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us. Moving and frank, personal and political, it confirms Helen Macdonald as one of this century''s greatest nature writers. **CHOSEN AS A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2020 AND A NEW STATESMAN BOOK TO READ IN 2020**
In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware.
Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.
After a walk through the woods with Wohlleben, you''ll never look at trees the same way again.
As a child, Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer, learning the arcane terminology and reading all the classic books. Years later, when her father died and she was struck deeply by grief, she became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk.
''I can''t recall us ever talking about anything other than eels and how to best catch them, down there by the stream. Actually, I can''t remember us speaking at all. Maybe because we never did.'' The European eel, Anguilla anguilla, is one of the strangest creatures nature ever created. Remarkably little is known about the eel, even today. What we do know is that it''s born as a tiny willow-leaf shaped larva in the Sargasso Sea, travels on the ocean currents toward the coasts of Europe - a journey of about four thousand miles that takes at least two years. Upon arrival, it transforms itself into a glass eel and then into a yellow eel before it wanders up into fresh water. It lives a solitary life, hiding from both light and science, for ten, twenty, fifty years, before migrating back to the sea in the autumn, morphing into a silver eel and swimming all the way back to the Sargasso Sea, where it breeds and dies. And yet . . . There is still so much we don''t know about eels. No human has ever seen eels reproduce; no one can give a complete account of the eel''s metamorphoses or say why they are born and die in the Sargasso Sea; no human has even seen a mature eel in the Sargasso Sea. Ever. And now the eel is disappearing, and we don''t know exactly why. What we do know is that eels and their mysterious lives captivate us. This is the basis for The Gospel of the Eels , Patrik Svensson''s quite unique natural science memoir; his ongoing fascination with this secretive fish, but also the equally perplexing and often murky relationship he shared with his father, whose only passion in life was fishing for this obscure creature. Through the exploration of eels in literature (Gunter Grass and Graham Swift feature, amongst others) and the history of science (we learn about Aristotle''s and Sigmund Freud''s complicated relationships with eels) as well as modern marine biology (Rachel Carson and others) we get to know this peculiar animal. In this exploration, we also learn about the human condition, life and death, through natural science and nature writing at its very best. As Patrik Svensson concludes: ''by writing about eels, I have in some ways found my way home again.''
See the world. Then make it better. I am David Attenborough. At time of writing, I am 93 years old. I''ve had an extraordinary life. It''s only now that I appreciate how extraordinary. As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world - but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been happening all around us, barely noticeable from day to day - the loss of our planet''s wild places, its biodiversity. I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet contains my witness statement, and my vision for the future - the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake, and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right. We have the opportunity to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited. All we need is the will do so.
Elephants are as unique as people. They can be clever and curious or headstrong and impulsive, shy or sociable. Learn to know them as individuals as well as a species in this evocative account of years spent studying elephant behaviour in the wild. Watching a family out for a swim on a hot day, Dr Hannah Mumby notes grandmothers, mothers, sisters and children exchanging noisy greetings, a consistent stream of close-range vocalisations, intermittent touching, co-operative herding of babies and frequent stopping for snacks. A close and interconnected family. But in this family, the adults weigh several tons each and the babies wave trunks playfully at one another. This is a herd of elephants. That elephants are intelligent, sentient beings is common knowledge, but so much about their day-to-day lives and abilities remains unknown. How do they communicate with one another over seemingly impossible distances? How do males spend their lives once they have left their mothers'' herds? And how much do they really remember? In this lyrically written and deeply personal account of several years of field research, Mumby reverently describes her own elephant encounters, alongside an exploration of the most up-to-date discoveries about the lives of these gentle giants. Learn how elephants live, travel, have sex, raise children and relate to one another, and reflect on how they think and feel. Understanding elephants as individuals closes the gap between human and animal and has powerful applications in the critical field of elephant conservation.
Can you tell which plants are safe to eat? Which trees are best to shelter under a storm? How do you tell a deciduous and coniferous tree apart? In his charming new book, bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlleben takes you on a journey of discovery. From learning what creatures lurk beneath tree roots to finding your way around the woods without a compass, this is a captivating guide to navigating the wonders of the wild.