Robert Sullivan was last on the show to discuss his book, My American Revolution. He joins us this morning to discuss his ode to the hemlock, a tree with a tenuous future – which is a new article for Orion magazine, adapted from the introduction to Hemlock: A Forest Giant on the Edge, to be published in April by Yale University Press.
The Eastern Hemlock, massive and majestic, has played a unique role in structuring northeastern forest environments, from Nova Scotia to Wisconsin and through the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. A “foundation species” influencing all the species in the ecosystem surrounding it, this iconic North American tree has long inspired poets and artists as well as naturalists and scientists.
Five thousand years ago, the hemlock collapsed as a result of abrupt global climate change. Now this iconic tree faces extinction once again because of an invasive insect.
Robert Sullivan is the author of Rats, The Meadowlands, A Whale Hunt, and most recently, The Thoreau You Don't Know.