Selected Writing of Richard St. Barbe Baker
Karen Gridley ed., 1989, 149 pp. paperback
SECTION: Permaculture and Trees,
Excerpts from St. Barbe Baker's most important writings--a fascinating glimpse of one of this century's most farsighted individuals. Beyond mere human interest, the book carries an urgent message about the vital role of trees in planetary survival. In poignant words, St. Barbe Baker translates sophisticated biological information about trees and silviculture into easily understood concepts. He guides the reader on into forestry as it relates to environmental preservation. He explains how the earth's forests represent a critical link in the earth's cycle of self-renewal, and describes the ties between trees and all animal life - including humanity.
"Besides water, trees provide pure air. They are the great filtering machines for the human organism. They improve and transform the air in a way which is most favorable and most acceptable to the lungs of man."…. "According to ancient mythology, trees were the first living things on earth. This is borne out by scientific reasoning which shows that it is through them that the air we breathe can give life to humanity. Through countless ages trees have been drawing carbonic acid gas from the atmosphere, absorbing and incorporating the carbon, assimilating it; then when they die, bequeathing to soil their carboniferous remains. The consequence has been that eventually the atmospheric oxygen was left sufficiently pure for the requirements of birds and mammals which have replaced the flying reptiles and monstrous amphibians that were able to endure the heavy air of primeval swamps and jungles." -- from Trees and Life
"The fact that we have a Sahara (desert) is not entirely tragic. The very existence of the Sahara gives to the whole world a highly valuable lesson in ecology. It treaches us what not to do with a perfect countryside. The drifting sands and stony wastes tell us more eloquently than words, what will happen when we break certain natural laws. We cannot remove tree cover without running the risk of losing the blessing of the water cycle. We cannot denude the earth's surface without creating the desiccation of sand the dust dunes. We cannot permit animals to devour whatever little is left of green growth. Excessive grazing of cattle, sheep and goats is as damaging to the land as a wholesale felling of trees…´ from Desert Challenge
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