"Diana Beresford-Kroeger, a botanist and author, has created a forest with tree species handpicked for their ability to withstand a warming planet."
"MERRICKVILLE, Ontario — There aren’t many scientists raised in the ways of druids by Celtic medicine women, but there is at least one. She lives in the woods of Canada, in a forest she helped grow. From there, wielding just a pencil, she has been working to save some of the oldest life-forms on Earth by bewitching its humans.
At a hale 77, Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a medical biochemist, botanist, organic chemist, poet, author and developer of artificial blood. But her main focus for decades now has been to telegraph to the world, in prose that is scientifically exacting yet startlingly affecting, the wondrous capabilities of trees.
Dr. Beresford-Kroeger’s goal is to combat the climate crisis by fighting for what’s left of the great forests (she says the vast boreal wilderness that stretches across the Northern Hemisphere is as vital as the Amazon) and rebuilding what’s already come down. Trees store carbon dioxide and oxygenate the air, making them “the best and only thing we have right now to fight climate change and do it fast,” she said.
Her admirers, who included the late biodiversity pioneer E.O. Wilson, say what sets Dr. Beresford-Kreoger apart is the breadth of her knowledge. She can talk about the medicinal value of trees in one breath and their connection to human souls in the next. She moved Jane Fonda to tears. She inspired Richard Powers to base a central character of his Pulitzer-prize winning novel, “The Overstory,” in part on her: He has called her a “maverick” and her work “the best kind of animism.”"
Cara Buckley reports for the New York Times February 24, 2022.