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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The Treeline is a spellbinding blend of nature, travel and science writing, deeply researched and beautifully written, underpinned by an urgent environmental message.

The Arctic Treeline - the northern limit of the boreal forest that encircles the globe in an almost unbroken green ring - is the second largest biome on our planet. At this little-known frontline of climate change, the trees have been creeping towards the pole for 50 years already.

Six of the tree species that populate these forests (larch, spruce, mountain ash, downy birch, balsam poplar and Scots pine) form the central protagonists of Ben Rawlence's story. In Scotland, Northern Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland, he discovers what these trees and the people who live and work alongside them have to tell us about the past, present and future of our planet. Scientists are only just beginning to understand the astonishing significance of these forests for all life on Earth. At the Treeline, Rawlence witnesses the accelerating impact of climate change and the devastating legacies of colonialism and capitalism. But he also finds reasons for hope. Humans are creatures of the forest; we have always evolved with trees. The Treeline asks us where our co-evolution might take us next.

©2022 Ben Rawlence (P)2022 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Treeline

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Just amazing

This book tells you much more about the state of the world than just being a book about the treeline. It tells you that the real world is nature. Our civilization is a concept that will end, the forest is not. Connect with the real world. Listen to the book and go out to the woods.

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  • Al
  • 02-17-22

Fantastic audiobook with an important message

I have followed Ben Rawlence’s work for years and this book is simply stunning. Jamie Parker does a great job reading it. Enjoyed it enormously.

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  • A
  • 05-11-22

Great Book

A well written and researched book, well read, and a very interesting, exciting and important topic.

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  • A. Moorhouse Sacred Earth
  • 04-18-22

okish

Could have been quite good if there wasn't a fair bit of neo pagan made up stuff.

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  • Hoops
  • 03-08-22

Powerfully commentary about trees & environment

An extremely informative and passionate account of the author's travels around the worlds key northern forests. The importance of these forests in maintaining a healthy ecosystem is described in great detail. The damage already done as we near a point of irreversibility towards environmental catastrophe. There is some hope but are we too short sighted and selfish to change our lifestyle ways? Excellent narration of complex science. Challenges our focus on tropical forests. The North matters too!

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  • 38Red
  • 02-24-22

Fascinating and troubling

Came across this on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week serialisation. Bought it after the first episode. TL/DR - climate change is shifting the boreal forest northwards. Ben Rawlence circumnavigates the globe, visiting the leading and trailing edges of the forest - the treelines. He packs in plenty of science as he describes the complex processes reshaping the physical environment of the far north, its impact on those who live there, and the broader implications for the planet.
It's very well-written and read. If you're interested in the environment, forests, snow or arctic(ish) travelogues you should appreciate this. I won't say 'enjoy' as Ben's well-argued conclusions are even more troubling than I expected, and I wasn't exactly hopeful.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-09-22

fascinating

This was a beautifully written book, however, if it hadn't of been for the epilogue it would have left me quiet depressed.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-05-22

Beautiful, challenging, essential.

This book is a masterpiece - a travelogue of a journey around the northern forests; an investigation into the impacts of climate change, deforestation, and industrial capitalism more generally; an insight into the complex lives not only of trees, but of their symbiotic relationship with the rest of the forest; an exploration of how many indigenous societies have evolved to live with the Arctic tundra and how this ecosystem is now disappearing; and a consideration of some of the principles we will need to follow in order to adapt to a world that is already changing dramatically.

The descriptions of the landscapes, the trees, animals and people are full of wonder and memorable detail. There are a few scientific ideas and terms used but this is always done carefully and with respect to a lay reader like myself. The author shows respect to the views of all people interviewed regardless of their politics, and although his own perspective is clear, this is never a polemic.

I’ve been fortunate enough to discover some outstanding books recently, particularly The Nutmeg’s Curse, Born in Blackness and Stolen Focus, but this is the pick of the bunch and I would love for it to reach the widest possible audience.

Thank you Ben Rawlence, and wonderfully read by Jamie Parker.