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Trees: how many of ’em do we need to look at? Ronald Reagan, attributed
Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do. Ronald Reagan
That’s right: Jesus condemns a fig tree to death. Julia Sweeney, Letting Go of God
‘Me dad planted that tree,’ she said absently, pointing out through the old cracked window.
The great beech filled at least half the sky and shook shadows all over the house.
Its roots clutched the slope like a giant hand, holding the hill in place. Its trunk writhed with power, threw off veils of green dust, rose towering into the air, branched into a thousand shaded alleys, became a city for owls and squirrels. I had thought such trees to be as old as the earth, I never dreamed that a man could make them. Yet it was Granny Trill’s dad who had planted this tree, had thrust in the seed with his finger. How old must he have been to leave such a mark? Think of Granny’s age, and add his on top, and you were back at the beginning of the world. Laurie Lee, Cider with Rosie
As Ovid has sweetly in parable told,
We harden like trees, and like rivers grow cold. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Six Town Eclogues
Sequoias are the single largest life-form on Earth. Iain Stewart, How to Grow a Planet I: Life from Light, BBC 2012
This is the oldest forest in Africa. A relic really of a time when trees dominated the planet. So this really has a feeling descended into that lost world. Iain Stewart, How to Grow a Planet III: The Challenger
The forests started breaking up. The grasses were on a land grab. Conquering the territory once held by the trees ... The world was ablaze ... Grasses were dominating the land. ibid.
Our world is covered in giants … they’re trees. Brian Cox, Wonders of Life IV: Size Matters, BBC 2013
I am in a fury of work because the trees are all in blossom. Vincent van Gough, to brother Theo
What I want is a view: I want a window where I can see a tree. The Silence of the Lambs 1991 starring Jodie Foster & Anthony Hopkins & Scott Glen & Ted Levine & Anthony Heald & Brooke Smith & Diane Baker & Kasi Lemmons & Frankie Fraison & Tracey Walter et al, director Jonathan Demme
51,487. In the space of a few generations we have laid waste to paradise. The Tall-grass Prairie has been transformed into a corn factory where wildlife means the exotic pheasant. The Shortgrass Prairie is a grid of carefully fenced cow pastures and wheatfields. The Passenger Pigeon is no more; the last one died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. The endless forests of the East are tame woodlots. With few exceptions, the only virgin deciduous forest there is in tiny museum pieces of hundreds of acres. Fewer than one thousand Grizzlies remain. The last three condors left in the wild were captured and imprisoned in the Los Angeles Zoo. (An expensive reintroduction effort has since been started.) Except in northern Minnesota and northwestern Montana, wolves are known as scattered individuals drifting across the Canadian and Mexican borders. Four percent of the peerless Redwood Forest remains and the ancient forests of Oregon are all but gone. The tropical cats have been shot and poisoned from our Southwestern borderlands. The subtropical Eden of Florida has been transmogrified into hotels and citrus orchards. Domestic cattle have grazed bare and radically altered the composition of the grassland communities of the West, displacing Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep, and Pronghorn and leading to the virtual extermination of Grizzly Bear, Gray Wolf, Cougar, and other ‘varmints’. Dams choke most of the continent’s rivers and streams. Dave Foreman and Bill Haywood, Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching
The biggest living organism of any kind is a conifer – the Giant Sequoia. David Attenborough, Life on Earth III: The First Forests, BBC 1979
This is a Giant Sequoia – it’s thought to be about two thousand five hundred years old. David Attenborough, The Living Planet: The Northern Forests III, BBC 1984
Birches on the timescale of the wood have short lives ... the Oaks rule. David Attenborough, The Private Life of Plants: The Social Struggle, BBC 1995
The host tree’s fate is now sealed – for it is in the clutches of a strangler fig. ibid.
Fungi are neither plant nor animal. ibid.
Some fungi trap living animals. ibid.
A third of the Earth’s land is still covered by trees of one kind or another. David Attenborough, The Life of Mammals VIII: Life in the Trees, BBC 2002
The Sun Bear of Indonesia: it also is a fruit-eater and it spends more of its time in the trees than any other bear. ibid.
How ill-equipped we are for a life in the trees. ibid.
There’s a very good living to be had – up there. ibid.
A single hectare of rainforest may contain as many as two hundred and fifty species of tree. David Attenborough, Planet Earth e8: Jungles, BBC 2006
Trees – surely among the most magnificent of all living things. Some are the largest organisms on earth dwarfing all others, and these are the tallest of them all. The deciduous and coniferous woodlands that grow in the seasonal parts of our planet are the most extensive forests on earth. David Attenborough, Planet Earth e10: Seasonal Forests
Giant Redwood ... These conifers grow at ten times the rate of those near the Arctic, and they live for thousands of years. ibid.
The dragon’s blood tree: the key to their success lies in their bizarre shape ... The mist condenses on the skyward pointed waxy leaves. The droplets run down to the centre of the trunk and down to its roots. David Attenborough, Life e9: Plants, BBC 2009
An unbroken belt of forest that stretches seven miles around our planet and contains one third of all the trees on Earth. David Attenborough, Frozen Planet I, BBC 2011
The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil. George Orwell
Great oaks from little acorns grow. Late 14th century proverb
Old Yew, which graspest at the stones
That name the under-lying dead,
Thy fibers net the dreamless head;
Thy roots are wrapt about the bones. Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1809-1882
A little garden square and wall’d;
And in it throve an ancient evergreen,
A yew-tree, and all round it ran a walk
Of shingle, and a walk divided it. Alfred Lord Tennyson, Enoch Arden l731
Portion of this yew
Is a man my grandsire knew,
Bosomed here at its foot:
This branch may be his wife,
A ruddy human life
Now turned to a green shoot ...
So, they are not underground,
But as nerves and veins abound
In the growths of the upper air,
And they feel the sun and rain,
And the energy again
That made them what they were! Thomas Hardy, Transformations
To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature. At the passing of the breeze the fir-trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock; the holly whistles as it battles with itself; the ash hisses amid its quiverings; the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall. And winter, which modifies the note of such trees as shed their leaves, does not destroy its individuality. Thomas Hardy, Under a Greenwood Tree