** Urban Forests by Jill Jonnes

If you find yourself creating a running commentary in your head on how trees would improve the streets you walk on, read Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape, which tells a series of stories about tree planting campaigns and efforts to find various blights and epidemics amongst street trees. If not, the weaknesses of the book may be too much for you. Each chapter seems to have been written in isolation, so facts are repeated across chapters with no effort to cross-reference them, and the succession of diseases makes for a gloomy feeling overall. Still, there are some inspiring stories of individuals who brought about major changes, from the woman who waged a decades-long battle to bring the now iconic Japanese cherry trees to Washington, D.C. to the California college student who convinced the forestry department to deliver 8000 seedlings to his dorm rather than chuck them. It may make you want to launch your own urban forestation campaign.


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