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Books about Forests & Wildlife
 

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Agriculture & Ecology
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Videos, DVD's, & CD's

Browsing Nature's Aisles:
A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs

Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann
199pp., 2013,
$18.00

Wendy and Eric Brown, in their quest for a more self-sufficient lifestyle, decided to spend a year incorporating foraged food into their diet. Browsing Nature’s Aisles tells the story of why and how they lived off the land, and how the experience helped them become more in touch with nature and all it has to offer.

Before this concerted foraging effort, the authors, a suburban couple living on a quarter acre of land in Maine, had only dabbled in foraging, enjoying maple syrup and blueberry picking. “Wild edibles remained a curiosity, but not a dietary staple,” they say, partly because the selection of guidance books was sparse. As the couple became increasingly aware and wary of genetically engineered foods, food contamination, BPA-lined cans to store food, increasing food costs, and food scarcity, they concluded that “the logical choice seemed to be learning to live off what Nature provided for free.”

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The couple’s adventures in foraging show that much of the their knowledge about the subject came by “simple observation followed by a flurry of research,” which uncovered the bounty, but also the numerous complexities, in nature’s offerings. For example, while nettle leaves could be used as a salad-type dish, once they are dried or dehydrated, they can also be used to make tea or added as vitamin boosts to soups or stews. The diversity of wild edibles includes foods derived from hunting and gathering, such as bow-hunting the flock of turkeys that landed on their property, or clamming on the tidal flats.

The narrative clearly conveys the authors’ growing respect for nature as their observations become keen and intuitive, as revealed in the chapter on trees: “In the beginning, we never imagined that trees had more to give than just the materials we took from them. We have discovered that trees provide a wealth of information about the weather, the coming growing seasons and the population density of the animals that rely on them for food.”

 21st Century Greens
by David Kennedy

Price: 2011, $24.00, 257 pages.
Based on decades of research, this book explores the mostly untapped potential of many leaf crops. With over 1,000 species of plants having edible leaves that are low in calories, this is a large group underutilized for human food. But not all greens have traits that are valuable as human foods. Fibrous cell walls, strong flavors and a societal dislike have restricted them in our diet today. 21st Century Greens will change how you look at and use this valuable resource. Including how to grow, prepare and preserve over 100 unique leaf crops. Discover a new world of green leafy vegetables and how they can help build the food system we need for the 21st Century.
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Creating a Forest Garden
by Martin Crawford
2010, 380pp,
$49 (significant savings if shipped with other books) (Read Review- PDF)

Creating a Forest Garden gives readers all the information they need to create their own multilayered garden of edible, and other useful plants, along with plenty of background on the many benefits of agroforestry.

Creating a Forest Garden is suitable for readers growing in small gardens or on much larger plots, including commercial growers. The book covers:

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* How forest gardens work
* Designing the forest garden
* A comprehensive directory of over 500 trees, shrubs and ground level plants suitable for the forest garden.
* Detailed advice on paths, windbreaks, harvesting, maintenance, wildlife and pests.

Creating a Forest Garden covers an exciting range of useful crops including bamboo shoots, goji berries and yams alongside more familiar fruits such as apples and raspberries.

A Forest Garden Year with Martin Crawford
49 minutes, 2011, $22.50, DVD
(Read Review - PDF)
Fifteen years ago, inspired by the pioneering work of Robert Hart, gardener Martin Crawford moved from conventional organic gardening to creating a forest garden from a bare field. Today his garden is a wonderful example of what can be done with a minimum of effort to produce an abundant crop of unusual edible trees, plants, shrubs and ground cover. You can apply the principles of forest gardening to spaces big and small. Here Martin takes you through the seasons in his Devon forest garden, and shows you how to plan your planting to mimic the layering, density and diversity of a forest. A wide variety of edible plants can be grown: for example, Nepalese raspberry, Siberian purslane, Turkish rocket and
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DVD
Good King Henry, lime trees (their leaves make a good salad), bamboo (young shoots are tasty when steamed), snowbell trees (for their fruit), mulberry and chokeberry. A Forest Garden Year shows you how to graft an apple tree to crop a variety of apples over several months, how to grow shiitake mushrooms and perennial leeks, how to pollard and prune, protect crops from wind, attract beneficial insects and increase valuable minerals in the soil - all the while creating a haven for yourself and for wildlife. 

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NEW! The Woodland Way 2nd Edition
by Ben Law
2013, 191pp, $30, all color
(Read review - PDF)

A book for everyone who loves trees and woodlands. This completely revised and updated edition of the 2001 classic is written from the heart by an innovative woodsman who is deeply committed to sustainability. This radical book presents an immensely practical alternative to conventional woodland management.

Through his personal experience, Ben Law clearly demonstrates how you can create biodiverse, healthy environments, yield a great variety of value added products, provide secure livelihoods for woodland workers and farmers, and benefit the local community. He argues the case for a new approach to planning, encouraging the creation of permaculture woodlands for the benefit of people, the local environment and the global climate.

The Woodland Way contains: Woodlands from wildwood in the 21st century; The 21st century & the return of the forest dweller; Woodland assessment & management planning; Establishing new woodlands; Management of woodlands; From tree to finished product; Food from the woods; Woodland management and the law; and The future of woodlands.

"Ben is a true pioneer and is, by example, quite simply creating a woodland renaissance in Britain." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The Woodland Year
by Ben Law
$49 $39, 2008, 176pp.

Review from PcA (PDF)

Packed with stunning colour photographs, The Woodland Year is an intimate month-by-month journey through Ben Law's yearly cycle of work, his naturally attuned lifestyle and his deep understanding of his woods. Each month also includes guest contributions from woodlanders in other parts of England and Wales. The Woodland Year provides a fascinating insight into every aspect of sustainable woodland management; the cycles of nature, seasonal tasks, wild food gathering, wine making, mouthwatering and useful recipes, coppice crafts, round pole timber frame eco-building (pioneered by Ben in the UK), nature conservation, species diversity, tree profiles and the use of horses for woodland work. This is a profound book that is both practical and poetic. It describes a way of life that is economically and ecologically viable and sets a new standard for managing our woods in a low impact, sustainable way. As such, it holds some of the fundamental keys to how we can achieve a lower carbon society.

One of Ben Law's remarkable gifts, besides being arguably Britain's greatest living woodsman, is a knack for inspiring others. The Woodland Year is a month-by-month journey through Ben's woodland in the Sussex Weald, and a celebration of every aspect of sustainable woodland management. In words that are often lyrical but always ungilded, he describes a way of life that is both economically and ecologically viable. As such, it holds some of the fundamental keys to how we can achieve a more sustainable, lower carbon society. Ben is a true pioneer and is quite simply creating a woodland renaissance in Britain. Read this, and you will surely want to be part of it. --From the Foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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Edible Forest Gardens Volume 1 & 2
by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier,
8 x 10, 450 pages, 520pp. $75ea., $135 for both (same shipping rate for both volumes as for Vol 2 alone)
Volume I: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate-Climate Permaculture, Volume II Ecological Design and Practice for Temperate-Climate Permaculture

Essentially, edible forest gardening is the art and science of putting plants together in woodland-like patterns that forge mutually beneficial relationships, creating a garden ecosystem that is more than the sum of its parts. You can grow fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms,

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other useful plants, and animals in a way that mimics natural ecosystems. You can create a beautiful, diverse, high-yield garden that is largely self-maintained.

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable “plant matrix” that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible ForestGardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening—one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

About the Authors: Dave Jacke is the owner of Dynamics Ecological Design Associates and a longtime permaculture teacher and designer. He lives in Keene, New Hampshire. Eric Toensmeier is a plant researcher, agricultural educator, author of Perennial Vegetables and Paradise Lot, and permaculturist who lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

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Vol 2
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Vol 1 & 2

Mycelium Running
by Paul Stamets   2005, 352pp.,$35

More mushrooms, less pollution! Yes, you heard right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment. Microscopic cells called "mycelium"—the fruit of which are mushrooms —recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What fungi expert Paul Stamets has discovered is that mycelium also breaks down hydrocarbons —the base structure in many pollutants. So, for instance, when soil contaminated with diesel oil is inoculated with strains of oyster mushroom mycelia, the soil loses its toxicity in just eight weeks. In MYCELIUM RUNNING, Stamets discusses this

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revolutionary trend in mushroom cultivation and provides tips for choosing the appropriate species of fungi for various environmental purposes.

"As a physician and practitioner of integrative medicine, I find this book exciting and optimistic because it suggests new, nonharmful possibilities for solving serious problems that affect our health and the health of our environment. Paul Stamets has come up with those possibilities by observing an area of the natural world most of us have ignored. He has directed his attention to mushrooms and mycelium and has used his unique intelligence and intuition to make discoveries of great practical import. I think you will find it hard not to share the enthusiasm and passion he brings to these pages." – From the foreword by Andrew Weil, MD, author of Eating Well for Optimum Health

"Stamets is a visionary emissary from the fungus kingdom to our world, and the message he's brought back in this book, about the possibilities fungi hold for healing the environment, will fill you with wonder and hope." – Michael Pollan, author of Botany of Desire

"Stamets has done a unique public service. This visionary and practical book should be an instant classic in the emerging science of how to use nature's wisdom and fecundity to rescue the earth and ourselves from the unwelcome consequences of human cleverness." – Amory B. Lovins, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute

"A paradigm-changing book. Stamets' visionary insights are leading to a whole new understanding of how mushrooms, scarcely seen and rarely appreciated, regulate the earth's ecosystems." – John Todd, Ph.D., University of Vermont and John Todd Ecological Design

"The gospel of fungi containing crucial pragmatic solutions showing us how to work with nature in order to heal nature." – Kenny Ausubel, founder and co-executive director of Bioneers

Forager's Harvest
Forager's Harvest:
A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
by Samuel Thayer
2005, $23, 368pp
(Read Review - PDF)
A fine, rich guide to wild foods of North America warmly written by a master forager: uses, botany, habitat. Provides detailed instructions and personal experiences of harvesting 332 delicious plants, including butternut, wild rice, ostrich fern, hog peanut, cattail, and more.

Get the Forager's Harvest video here.
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NEW! Nature’s Garden
A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
by Samuel Thayer
2010, 512pp., $25

A practical guide to all aspects of edible wild plants: finding and identifying them, their seasons of harvest, and their methods of collection and preparation. Each plant is discussed in great detail and accompanied by excellent color photographs. Includes an index, illustrated glossary, bibliography, and harvest calendar. The perfect guide for all experience levels.

Get the Forager's Harvest video here.

"It has become the go-to book for students at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. Nature’s Garden, builds upon the high standard set by The Foragers Harvest and establishes him as the leading authority and author on edible wild plants that has ever published. It isn’t slightly better than other books on the topic; it’s in a whole different league". Tim Smith, M.Ed. Founder and Director of The Jack Mountain Bushcraft School

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Botany in a Day - The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Thomas J. Elpel's Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families
5th Edition, 2004, 221pp., $30 (Now in full color!)

Botany in a Day is changing the way people learn about plants! Tom's book has gained a nationwide audience almost exclusively by word-of-mouth. It is now used as a text and recommended by herbal and wilderness schools across North America. Instead of presenting individual plants, Botany in a Day unveils the patterns of identification and uses among related plants, giving readers simple tools to rapidly unlock the mysteries of the new species they encounter throughout the continent.

Too often people try to learn plants one-at-a-time, without rhyme or reason. Now you can cut years off the process of learning about plants and their uses. Tom's book helps you beyond the piece-meal approach to botany and herbalism towards a more "whole" approach. Within 1 1/2 hours you can understand the big-picture of botany and herbalism. Learn how related plants have similar features for identification. Discover how they often have similar properties and similar uses.

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The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
by Kim Flottum 2005, 168pp, $25

This book isn't just a guide to beekeeping or a honey cookbook; it's both. No other book on the market provides an in-depth review of beekeeping and what honey is good for and how to use it. Beautifully illustrated, the Backyard Beekeeper is perfect for the health-conscious person who wants to sweeten up their life by saying no to processed sugars and yes to eating organic, healthy food.

This book is the complete "honey bee" resource with general information on bees; a how-to guide to the art of bee keeping and how to set up, care for, and harvest your own hives; as well as tons of fun facts and projects that are bee related. The second half of the book is the complete guide to honey. It reviews the different types of honey and their health effects as well as provides hundreds of ideas and recipes for using honey in recipes, cosmetically in facemasks and shampoos, and for medicinal uses.

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About the Author
After receiving a degree in horticulture from UW Madison, Kim Flottum worked four years in the USDA Honey Bee Research Lab, studying pollination ecology. After that, he spent two years raising acres of fruits and vegetables, where bees played a large role. He brings this experience, plus nearly 20 years of writing and editing articles for beekeepers in the monthly magazine Bee Culture.

Natural Beekeeping Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture
by Ross Conrad (Author), Gary Paul Nabhan (Foreword)
$35, 246pp., 2007

The various chemicals used in beekeeping have, for the past decades, held Varroa Destructor, a mite, and other major pests at bay, but chemical-resistance is building and evolution threatens to overtake the best that laboratory chemists have to offer. In fact, there is evidence that chemical treatments are making the problem worse. Natural Beekeeping flips the script on traditional approaches by proposing a program of selective breeding and natural hive management.

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Conrad brings together the best organic and natural approaches to keeping honeybees healthy and productive here in one book. Readers will learn about nontoxic methods of controlling mites, eliminating American foulbrood disease (without the use of antibiotics), breeding strategies, and many other tips and techniques for maintaining healthy hives. Conrad's reservoir of knowledge comes from years of experience and a far-flung community of fellow beekeepers who are all interested in ecologically sustainable apiculture. Specific concepts and detailed management techniques are covered in a matter-of-fact, easy to implement way.

Natural Beekeeping describes opportunities for the seasoned professional to modify existing operations to improve the quality of hive products, increase profits, and eliminate the use of chemical treatments. Beginners will need no other book to guide them. Whether you are an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an Integrated Pest Management approach or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you've been waiting for.

Beekeeping Simplified: Step-by-step instructions to make your own round hive for healthier bees.
40 pp, $7
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