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The Sibley Guide to Trees – Preface

As someone who loves working with trees, I enjoy reading about the different types of trees that we work with.   Some of the best books ever written are about types of trees, tree trimming, tree removal and stump removal.   One of my favorite books is simply titled “The Sibley Guide to Trees” by David Sibley.
A lot of the knowledge that I have today came from that book.   I hope you enjoy my writings and please keep in mind, this information is taken directly from The Sibley Guide to Trees book.   All credit from this writing is to the author David Allen Sibley.

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“Trees surround us every day in many different forms. They are part of our lives not only as living plants in our yards and parks but also in furniture, pencils, oranges, the framework of our homes, and the paper in the book that you are holding in your hands. Trees are some of the most common things in our everyday lives and at the same time some of the most superlative. The tallest, heaviest, and oldest living things on earth are trees.”

“I have studied birds for most of my life and over the years I have written and illustrated several guides to birds and birding. When I first thought of creating a new field guide, I leaned toward the colorful, dynamic (and bird-like) butterflies or reptiles and amphibians, my childhood favorites. But these creatures are visible for only part of the year, and most can only be seen with special effort and require very close study to be identified. Both groups have relatively few species in the Northeast, where I live, with much higher diversity in the warmest parts of North
America. In some very important ways, I found that tree study was more like birding. Trees, like birds, are around us all the time; not just in summer or in nature sanctuaries, but all year in our yards and along our streets. We can see and identify them at a distance along the roadside, across a pond, even from a moving car. As we go about our daily routines, most of us won’t encounter many butterflies, amphibians, or native mammals, but we will see birds and trees.”

“Another advantage is that trees don’t really move. But they still change with the seasons, so that they are never quite the same from week to week. Even after years of studying trees in your area, some small change in appearance one day might draw your attention to a tree you’ve never noticed before. There are many opportunities for discovery.  Trees project a different sense of time, and hold a record of environmental history that can be revealed through patient study. If you planted an acorn today, no matter how young and healthy you are, you would not live long enough to see it as a fully mature oak tree.”

“It is possible to see trees that were alive when Columbus landed in the New World, and even some that were already old in the time of Julius Caesar.”

“Like birds, learning about trees can be an entry point to understanding the natural world. But if birding is a window through which we admire our feathered neighbors passing by at a distance, studying trees is a door that opens wide and invites us in. We can relax under their shade, climb their branches, or feel the texture of their bark. We can pick their fruit, plant them in our gardens, or make use of their wood. Our lives are intertwined with trees in countless ways, and they remind us that we are not simply neighbors, but part of an integrated community.”

“This book is primarily an identification guide and you can think of it as a kind of directory. It will help you find the trees and know their names, but that is just the beginning. It is up to you to get to know them, learn their stories, and appreciate how much they do for us.”

–DAVID ALLEN SIBLEY April, 2009 Concord, Massachusetts