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Young, Cameron and others.

North Vancouver, Whitecap Books, c1985. 192pp,cloth, $39.95, ISBN 0-920620-58-2. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Adele Case

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

Rarely does a book of display quality contain the wealth of organized data, photographic superiority, and graphic excellence that is found in The Forests of British Columbia. The quartet of authors (Young, Herger, Marx, and Seabrook) have jointly contributed their expertise with dazzling results. British Columbians have long appreciated the importance of the native forests to the province's economy. In the past few decades, however, intelligent harvesting of diminising stocks and prudent stewardship of the sublimely beautiful forest resource have been urged. When one learns of the slow growth of the forest eco-system through centuries, it cannot be denied that greater public awareness of the worth of trees is essential. The authors discuss forest management in the final chapter.

Glossy paper enhances the wide-angle precision of many of the full-page photographs. The range of pictures shows not only the forest giants, but tiny and large animals that depend on forest growth for sustenance. Mushrooms and caterpillars, fern forms and magnificent wild flowers, poisonous weeds, and even dew droplets on spider webs enchant the viewer. Design and colour rendition are also outstanding. The hard cover book is bound in a bark-like brownish hue, with inside cover papers of forest green. Charts showing the dozen bio-geoclimatic zones in the province allow a novice to understand some of the problems that concern silviculturalists and botanists.

There is no index (the book does not purport to be a text), but the abstracts of material covered in each of the eight chapters do much to fill the gap, as the table of contents is very complete. The only criticism that could be made is that the book is textually brief. The British Columbian tree forms are clearly illustrated and defined, but in so few words, that a serious reader could be frustrated by the vignette style of many of the definitions.

If the book has a theme, it is that the beauty and utility of trees must be seen as part of a delicately-balanced natural system that ought not to be ravaged for short-term gains. Throughout the book, the photographs and graphics tie in with the text and enrich each chapter. Together, these show the botanical variety, the glorious scenery of British Columbia, and the marvels of engineering that trees are.

Graphics, explanations, and illustrations summarize British Columbia forests in sufficient detail to allow a traveller to identify many provincial tree and plant forms. Such a stimulating book deserves wide readership. Recommended.

Adele Case, Britannia S.S., Vancouver,B.C.
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