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Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada’s Last Great Trees - Harley Rustad

Big Lonely Doug is a big lonely tree on Vancouver Island. It is a Douglas Fir and has become a symbol of the need for forest preservation.

The book is slightly, only slightly mistitled. While Doug is the focal point, the actual text covers quite about forests, trees, conservation, and logging in Canada. It is worth noting that the sections that deal with logging are relatively even handed. True, it is impossible to less the impact of Doug standing alone in the midst of a clear cut, but Rustad does not demonize loggers or the logging companies per se. In part, this is because Big Lonely Doug was, in fact, saved by a man who worked for logging companies but whom is portrayed as a rather interesting and wonderful man.

This isn’t to say that Rustad isn’t critical when it is called for- he is. His analysis about various movements to save a forest include a great look at the advertisements that logging companies used to try to win public opinion.

But the book is the most interesting when Rustad writes about trees. Maybe it’s because I’ve read Powers’ Overstory, but there is such power when Rustad writes about connections between the trees and between the area where the trees live.

As an American, I really hadn’t heard of the Walrus before, but I am definitely paying attention to them now.