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Diana Beresford-Kroeger : Life In and Out of the Arboretum


She is more comfortable on her 400 acre research garden, filled with rare and endangered plants, trees and grasses, studying and writing than she is traveling and speaking. These days, botanist, and medicinal bio-chemist, Diana Beresford Kroeger, author of five books including Canadian best-seller, “The Global Forest,” feels the call to speak on the importance of trees, forests, and the Earth’s health, our life-line. Our personal health is directly tied to the health of the planet.

With her Irish dialect, soft-spoken Diana may not at first sound like an ardent environmentalist. Her strong connection to the trees has her out of the quiet forests she loves and out front in center speaking about them. She refers to hearing the whisper of the trees, and in “The Global Forest” tells us “trees are the lungs of the Earth,” providing us the air we breathe, and cleaning the air of environmental toxins. Our survival is dependent on the survival of the forests. She is on a mission to educate us on the importance of the Boreal Forest, or Taiga as it is called in Russia. According to Diana, the Boreal Forest, which begins in the uppermost United States extending into most of Canada, and covering most of northern Russia, is as every bit as vital as the hot, dense rain forests. The majority of the Boreal Forest is in the coldest regions, or Tundra, of the world and contains evergreen, coniferous trees which perform a number of services for humans.

Diana is concerned that while Canada has preserved 10 percent of these forests the Canadian government is considering cutting down the remaining 90 percent for industrial logging and this has Diana on an education mission. “We must become aware of our dependency on trees. Not only do they provide us with oxygen, they clean up the air, and provide a vital function to the oceans.” Where humans emit toxins into the air from weapons of war and coal-fired plants, we are removing our filtration system with the removal of the trees. Diana is clear the removal of these forests would contribute greatly to climate increases raising the temperature of the oceans. She speaks to the symbiotic relationship between the oceans and trees.


In her travels, Diana is also a communicator, translating the specifics of science to local people concerned with the future of the forests, and meeting with community organizers. Diana’s work has been recognized and supported by some of the strongest environmentalists in the world such as E.O. Wilson and Bill McKibben.

Talking to Diana is like taking a trip to one of these forests. Her lilting voice and descriptions of her garden take me to a place where things are growing, blooming, emerging all year. I feel as if I am in the arms of a mother telling a wonderful story of the intricacies, interdependencies, and necessities of all life-forms making up the great bio-sphere of life. It is clear these plants and trees have been the muse for Diana’s writing, and the inspiration for her speaking. And I find Diana an inspiration for myself.

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