A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us
Foreword by Sylvia A. Earle
“Written . . . not just to instruct, but to reorient and inspire . . . If a tree was once understood as a mostly static living object, [through The Arbornaut] we see it rippling with change.”
—Rebecca Griggs, The Atlantic
Welcome to the eighth continent! As a graduate student exploring the rain forests of Australia, Meg Lowman realized that she couldn’t monitor her beloved leaves using any of the usual methods. So she put together a climbing kit: she sewed a harness from an old seat belt, gathered hundreds of feet of rope, and found a tool belt for her pencils and rulers. Up she went, into the trees. Forty years later, Lowman remains one of the world’s foremost arbornauts, known as the “real-life Lorax.” She planned one of the first treetop walkways and helps create more of these bridges through the eighth continent all over the world. With a voice as infectious in its enthusiasm as it is practical in its optimism, The Arbornaut chronicles Lowman’s irresistible story. From climbing solo hundreds of feet into the air in Australia’s rainforests to measuring tree growth in the northeastern United States, from searching the redwoods of the Pacific coast for new life to studying leaf eaters in Scotland’s Highlands, from conducting a BioBlitz in Malaysia to conservation planning in India and collaborating with priests to save Ethiopia’s last forests, Lowman launches us into the life and work of a field scientist, ecologist, and conservationist. She offers hope, specific plans, and recommendations for action; despite devastation across the world, through trees, we can still make an immediate and lasting impact against climate change. A blend of memoir and fieldwork account, The Arbornaut gives us the chance to live among scientists and travel the world—even in a hot-air balloon! It is the engrossing, uplifting story of a nerdy tree climber—the only girl at the science fair—who becomes a giant inspiration, a groundbreaking, ground-defying field biologist, and a hero for trees everywhere.
© Carlton Ward
Meg Lowman, Ph.D. aka “CanopyMeg,” is an American biologist, educator, ecologist, writer, editor, and public speaker. She is the executive director of the TREE Foundation and a professor at the National University of Singapore, Arizona State University, and Universiti Sains Malaysia. Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic and “Einstein of the treetops” by The Wall Street Journal, Lowman pioneered the science of canopy ecology. Her motto is “no child left indoors.” She travels extensively for research, outreach, and speaking engagements for audiences large and small.