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The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature
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Penguin Publishing Group 2012
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Description
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of old-growth forest—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award 

Combining elegant writing with scientific expertise, The Forest Unseen "injects much-needed vibrancy into the stuffy world of nature writing" (Outside, "The Outdoor Books That Shaped the Last Decade")

In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.

Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/15/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101561065
ASIN:
B005GSYZB6
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

David George Haskell. (2012). The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

David George Haskell. 2012. The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

David George Haskell, The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature. Penguin Publishing Group, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

David George Haskell. The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature. Penguin Publishing Group, 2012.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:04:03
Date Updated:
May 30, 2023 07:16:12
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Feb 18, 2024 07:36:00
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title
The Forest Unseen
fullDescription
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of old-growth forest—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award 

Combining elegant writing with scientific expertise, The Forest Unseen "injects much-needed vibrancy into the stuffy world of nature writing" (Outside, "The Outdoor Books That Shaped the Last Decade")

In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.

Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 2, 2012
        Over the course of a year, University of the South biology professor Haskell makes frequent pilgrimages to a meter-wide spot along a slope in an old-growth Tennessee forest. During his visits, he peeks beneath the leaf litter, shivers at the howls of coyotes, and watches the light change as he gazes up at the green canopy of July or November’s bare twigs. Turning the patch of forest into his own natural laboratory, he reveals the science behind these moments of beauty, delighting in the resourcefulness of spring wildflowers and musing on the ecological partnerships that sustain lichens and other creatures. Throughout, Haskell shows the complexity and interdependence of the natural world, in which even the golf balls thwacked from a nearby green play a role. The Buddhist art of the mandala becomes a central reference point for the project, which contemplates the importance of close observation of the world around us. In the end, Haskell finds that even this tiny scrap of woods contains a teeming soup of life beyond the comprehension of our limited human senses. Yet for him, this awareness of his own “ignorance” is a joyful one, the web of life for him transcendentally tangled. This informative and inspiring meditation will give curious readers a few new things to pay attention to when walking through the woods. Agent: Alice Martell, the Martell Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from January 15, 2012
        An extraordinary, intimate view of life in an old-growth forest. "Can the whole forest be seen through a small contemplative window of leaves, rocks, and water?" This is the question Haskell (Biology/Univ. of the South) set out to answer by examining one square meter of old-growth Tennessee woods. Highly informative and entertaining, these short essays are dense with sensory details and deserve to be read slowly and carefully. The sights, smells and sounds of the forest permeate the pages, bringing readers face to face with a panoply of simple natural wonders: leaves, wildflowers, mosses, ferns, snails, salamanders, deer and more. Throughout an entire calendar year, Haskell scrutinizes this "mandala" of space, connecting the microcosm of birds, plants and animals in this patch of woods to the macrocosm of the outer world. This in-depth look into the natural biosphere emphasizes the idea that nothing--not even the small microbes that exist in the leaf litter--lives unrelated or unconnected to any other thing. What happens in this old forest is affected by and will in turn affect other parts of the planet. Even as Haskell discovered an "ecological and evolutionary kinship with the forest," he also realized "an equally powerful sense of otherness...a realization of the enormity of [his] ignorance...[where] simple enumeration and naming of the mandala's inhabitants lie far beyond [his] reach." Equally as informative as and far more enjoyable than any biology textbook, the book provides valuable insight and perspective on a world that is often missed in the bustle of modern society. Exceptional observations of the biological world worthy of any naturalist's library.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2012

        Following the example of monks and writers, award-winning teacher (and sometimes poet) Haskell (biology, Univ. of the South) turns his gaze to the small things--insects, plants, and birds--living in a single square meter of one of Tennessee's old-growth forests. He returns to the same patch of forest over the course of a year and, in a series of vignettes, draws readers' attention to the quiet details of the place. For instance, he sees a chickadee shiver for warmth in the wintertime and a mosquito feast to stomach-swelling proportions in the spring. Haskell uses these moments to remind readers of their position in a shared, common ecosystem that reaches far beyond the forest. VERDICT Haskell brings the aspects of forest life that most often go unnoticed to the forefront with vibrant detail as he easily moves from microscopic to global observations. His book should prove engaging for a variety of audiences--from serious readers of nature writing to casual readers of nonfiction. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 9/11/11.]--Talea Anderson, Ellensburg, WA

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2012
        In the tradition of many fine backyard naturalists from Thoreau onward, biologist Haskell focuses on one square meter in the Tennessee forest near his home for a year of intense ecological study. He considers the subtle changes to his mandala (a term chosen for its representation of a universe within a small space) with careful attention, resisting the urge to focus on dramatic turns and instead patiently seeking out plants like the hepatica, noting its bud, flower, and fruit. Lured down to the ground in search of the most infinitesimal alterations, he observes caterpillars and katydids, earthworms and ants. Playful similes assert themselves: Hickories are sports cars; Maples are all-wheel-drive passenger cars. He sees triumph against great odds in the production of syrup and the evolution of taste buds in an insect's failure to thrive in a bed made of the New York Times. (Pulped balsam fir is the culprit.) With appreciation for both the forest and scientific study, Haskell demonstrates that this is how we learn, with patience and respect for all the earth has to teach.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of old-growth forest—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award 

Combining elegant writing with scientific expertise, The Forest Unseen "injects much-needed vibrancy into the stuffy world of nature writing" (Outside, "The Outdoor Books That Shaped the Last Decade")

In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science...

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A Year's Watch in Nature
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      • description: Nature / Ecosystems & Habitats / Forests & Rainforests
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      • description: Technology & Engineering / Agriculture / Forestry