In his 1989 book A Forest Journey, John Perlin shows how an abundance (or scarcity) of wood has greatly shaped the culture, demographics, economy, politics, and technology of societies over the millennia. Until our dependence on fossil fuels, wood was the principal fuel and building material from the dawn of civilization. But, as observed by ancient writers, as civilizations develop and grow, forests recede.
Recently Patagonia published an updated version of A Forest Journey. On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with John Perlin about how a planet that was once covered with verdant forests is now on the verge of losing its last trees, and the urgency to protect what remains of the great trees and forests of the world if the planet is to survive.