The Man Who Planted Trees – Paperback Book



The life-changing book about trees and their place in our environment featuring Archangel co-founder David Milarch – now in paperback.

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Your purchase from our store supports our efforts! The Man Who Planted Trees is one of the best books about trees and is now in paperback.

The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet by Jim Robbins. Featured in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, and on NPR Weekend Edition with Scott Simon.


Get a personally signed copy by the subject of the book, Archangel co-founder David Milarch. All proceeds from signed copies will further the mission of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. This is one of the best books on trees and a signed copy could become a collector’s item.

“When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. The second best time? Today. – Chinese Proverb

Twenty years ago, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive co-founder David Milarch, a northern Michigan nurseryman with a penchant for hard living, had a vision: angels came to tell him that the earth was in trouble. Its trees were dying, and without them, human life was in jeopardy. The solution, they told him, was to clone the champion trees of the world—the largest, the hardiest, the ones that had survived millennia and were most resilient to climate change—and create a kind of Noah’s ark of tree genetics. Without knowing if the message had any basis in science, or why he’d been chosen for this task, Milarch began his mission of cloning the world’s great trees. Many scientists and tree experts told him it couldn’t be done, but, twenty years later, his team has successfully cloned some of the world’s oldest trees—among them giant redwoods and sequoias. They have also grown seedlings from the oldest tree in the world, the bristlecone pine Methuselah.

When New York Times journalist Jim Robbins came upon Milarch’s story, he was fascinated but had his doubts. Yet over several years, listening to Milarch and talking to scientists, he came to realize that there is so much we do not yet know about what trees do: how they die, how they communicate, the myriad crucial ways they filter water and air and otherwise support life on Earth. It became clear that as the planet changes, trees and forests are essential to assuring its survival, and planting them is a viable climate change solution. The Man Who Planted Trees is a fascinating investigation into the world of trees, the inspiring story of one man’s quest to help save the planet, and offers a solution to global warming.  This book’s hopeful message of what one man can accomplish against all odds is also a lesson about how each of us has the ability to make a difference.

Chapters Include:

  • Champion Tree
  • Forests on a Warmer Planet
  • Bristlecone
  • Willow
  • Redwood
  • Cloning Redwoods
  • Dawn Redwoods
  • Stinking Cedar
  • The Planet’s Filters and Other Ecosystem Services
  • Yew
  • Sequoia
  • …and many more


Jim Robbins is a frequent contributor to the science section of The New York Times. He has written for Smithsonian, Audubon, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times, Scientific American, The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Psychology Today, Gourmet, and Condé Nast Traveler. He lives in Helena, Montana. This book was printed in the United States of America on Rolland Enviro™ 100 Book, which is manufactured using FSC-certified 100% post-consumer fiber and meets permanent paper standards.


“The great poet W. S. Merwin once wrote, ‘On the last day of the world I would want to plant a tree.’ It’s good to see, in this lovely volume, that some folks are getting a head start!”—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“This is a story of miracles and obsession and love and survival. Told with Jim Robbins’s signature clarity and eye for telling detail, The Man Who Planted Trees is also the most hopeful book I’ve read in years. I kept thinking of the end of Saint Francis’s wonderful prayer, ‘And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.’ ”—Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight

Scientists can be confined by their own thinking—they know what they know. It’s amazing for one layman to come up with the idea of saving champion trees as a meaningful way to address the issues of biodiversity and climate change. This could be a grassroots solution to a global problem. A few million people selecting and planting the right trees for the right places could really make a difference.”—Ramakrishna Nemani, Earth scientist

“When a veteran science reporter meets an unlikely mystic to whom otherworldly spirits have given a mission—to save the DNA of the world’s champion trees—you know you’re in for a good story. Jim Robbins takes us along on a journey full of discovery, passion, and urgency and shows how one man’s near-death experience may help the world’s forests survive theirs.”—Dayton Duncan, author of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea

“This provocative and stimulating look at an emerging aspect of environmental study should serve as a clarion call to those concerned with the fate of the world’s forests as well as of the stately shade trees in their own backyards.”—Booklist

Real Reviews

5 reviews for The Man Who Planted Trees – Paperback Book

  1. Janet Lyn Bedford

    I am certain that I will like this book.
    I hope that it will be as educational, factual , & HOPEFUL as my other FAVOURITE BOOK ABOUT TREES and FORESTS . (American Canopy by Eric Rutkow ).

  2. Chris (verified owner)

    Loved this book, a great eye opener

  3. Csilla Kosa

    This book is a must read! I read it more that five years ago and it’s timely and urgent message is becoming more and more relevant each day. I got it for many of my friends and family members and love to re-read the stories of the amazing champion trees for inspiration to spread the word for the love of trees, planet and people!

  4. Bill Bacon (Billy)

    I can count upon one hand the books that have chosen me and changed my life. I too have suffered from the darkness of addiction. This book, along with a chance meeting with a Heritage Northern Red Oak, has changed the course of my life and helped bring me home – to my true self. Two years ago, as I wandered through a park on a late autumn day, I paused at the noise beneath my boots – acorns – so it began – the love affair with trees. Emerson wrote, “Man must not be afraid to explore himself.” This book was the start of that journey – a journey to understanding and caring for the planet and ultimately caring for myself. May it be read far and wide to help bring about change.

  5. Ben (verified owner)

    I’m an arborist and enjoyed the “original” version as well as other inspiring stories of tree-lovers doing huge things to save the Earth through trees.

    Milarch is a legend of biblical proportions. Read this book and go do something about what’s going on in the world, or give these guys some cash to do it for you.

    There are lots of ways to help trees. Assisted migration is definitely one and spreading these genetics is a critical piece.

    Easy read. Inspiring. Get it already.

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