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Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder

If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a business—it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. This is what we can do.

Read Yvon’s Letter

A Forest Journey: The Role of Trees in the Fate of Civilization (by John Perlin)


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A Forest Journey: The Role of Trees in the Fate of Civilization (by John Perlin)


A Foundational Conservation Story Revived

Click here for Deforestation and Reforestation maps from ESRI

Trees have been the principal fuel and building material of every society over the millennia, from the time hunters and gatherers first settled until the middle of the nineteenth century. Without vast supplies of wood from forests, the great civilizations of the world would have never emerged. Wood’s abundance or scarcity greatly shaped the culture, demographics, economies, internal and external politics, and technology of successive societies over the millennia.

Originally published in 1986 and updated in 2005, A Forest Journey’s comprehensive coverage of the major role forests have played in human life—told with grace, fluency, imagination, and humor—gained it recognition as a Harvard Classic in Science and World History and as one of Harvard’s “One Hundred Great Books.” This is a foundational conservation story that should not be lost in the archives. This updated and expanded edition emphasizes the importance of forests in the fight against climate chaos and the urgency to protect what remains of the great trees and forests of the world.

Style No. BK895


  • About the Author

    John Perlin is the author of four books: A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology; A Forest Journey: The Role of Trees in the Fate of Civilization; From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity; and Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy. Perlin taught physics at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He lives in Santa Barbara.

  • Endorsement

    A Forest Journey documents the rich history of repeated disasters from human overexploitation of forests. Healing the planet in our climate crisis depends on restoring the richness of the world’s woodlands.” —Steve Gaines, Dean, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UC Santa Barbara

  • Endorsement

    “Beginning 380 million years ago, forests made the Earth a paradise. Mankind’s dependency, ignorance and violence regarding forests meld their existence and our own into a Then, Now or Never tale. A Forest Journey is an unforgettable read!” —Forests Forever, Inc.

  • Review

    Recognized as a Harvard “Classic in Science and World History” and as one of Harvard’s “One Hundred Great Books.”

  • Specifications

    520 pages, printed in full color with over 150 photos throughout; 7 1/4" X 8 3/4"

  • Publisher

    Published by Patagonia

  • Special Features

    Online resource folder includes: Over 1,700 endnotes; An easy to access summary document; Interactive maps documenting the effects of deforestation around the world; A Reader’s Guide; A Teacher’s Guide

  • Country of Origin

    Made in USA.

  • Last Season Color Offered at Full Price


  • Printed on 100% postconsumer recycled paper

Purchase an eBook for Kindle, Nook, iPad and most other devices for $14.95. Note: gift cards are not valid for eBooks.

A Forest Journey is also available as an audio book wherever audio books are sold.

Click here for a synopsis of A Forest Journey.

Click here for endnotes to A Forest Journey.

Coming Soon: Teacher’s and Reader’s Guides for A Forest Journey


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