Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe
by Charlotte Gill
"Never have I read such a beautiful book with such a dull premise: what it’s like to plant tree seedlings in the wake of logging companies’ destruction. ...Gill turns a subject that might seem narrow and confined into a lyrical essay about labor and rest, decay and growth"—Smithsonian Magazine
• Winner of the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
• Shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Prize
• Shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Non-Fiction Award
During Charlotte Gill’s 20 years working as a tree planter she encountered hundreds of clear-cuts, each one a collision site between human civilization and the natural world, a complicated landscape presenting geographic evidence of our appetites. Charged with sowing the new forest in these clear-cuts, tree planters are a tribe caught between the stumps and the virgin timber, between environmentalists and loggers.
In Eating Dirt, Gill offers up a slice of tree-planting life in all of its soggy, gritty exuberance while questioning the ability of conifer plantations to replace original forests, which evolved over millennia into intricate, complex ecosystems. Among other topics, she also touches on the boom-and-bust history of logging and the versatility of wood, from which we have devised countless creations as diverse as textiles and airplane parts. She also eloquently evokes the wonder of trees, our slowest-growing “renewable” resource and joyously celebrates the priceless value of forests and the ancient, ever-changing relationship between humans and trees.
About the Author
Charlotte Gill was born in London, England and raised in the United States (upstate New York) and Canada. She spent nearly two decades working in the forests of Canada and has planted more than a million trees. Gill has received many accolades for her writing, including nominations for the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award, Hilary Weston Prize and the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. Her story collection Ladykiller won the Danuta Gleed Award and BC Book Prize.
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Greystone Books; Reprint edition (July 24, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches