Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson - Selected Title Author

We are happy to present our selected title author Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. She has written Forests. On trees, people and thousands of other phenomenal species (original title: Skogen). The book is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles of the spring 2024.

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Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson has written the book 'Forests. On trees, people and thousands of other phenomenal species'. Photo: Celina Øier.

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson has worked with the forest for over thirty years as a biologist. When she inherited a two hundred year old book with descriptions of plants, she decided to write about the forest then and now.

What is your book about?

Forests. On Trees, People and Thousands of Other Phenomenal Species is a book about forests – in all their leafy and pine-green glory, like a landscape around much of our culture and economy, our myths and beliefs. Forests are magical, teeming with life, and useful, running like a green thread throughout our entire tapestry of history. That’s why I not only write about biology in this book, but also about history, politics, and culture. I look backward and forward, weaving time and perspectives together into a broader narrative about the forest.

Behind the highly entertaining information about the intricate interactions between forest species lies a significant and serious question. We need the forest’s resources, but the forest must also be preserved as a home for endangered biodiversity, as a carbon store, and as a place for inspiration and experiences in nature. How can these factors be reconciled?

What inspired you to write this book?

The idea for this book sprouted when I inherited a two-hundred-year-old flora, that is, a book containing descriptions of plants. It had been passed down through the family for five generations – from my great-great grandfather, who, in the mid-1800s, founded what is now known as the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), where I am a professor today.

My great-great grandfather’s flora set my mind in motion as I pondered what has changed and what remains the same between his time and mine, both out there beneath the treetops – and in our perception of nature.

I’ve been working with forests and the fascinating life within them for thirty years and have long wanted to write about forests in my own way. The old flora provided the framework I’d been searching for; now, I could gather all the stories in a book that is multifaceted and teeming with life, much like the forest itself is diverse and surprising.

Who is this book for?

I’ve written a book I hope will be read by many, including those who might not be particularly interested in environmental issues. My goal is to reach all of you: couch potatoes and forest owners, hikers or café-dwellers, environmental activists, and the indifferent. Perhaps especially those who initially think: “No, forests aren’t really my thing.”

Because we need to talk about the forest more and we need to do it in an accessible way. The greater the pressure we exert on forested areas, the more important it becomes that many – ideally everyone – have an understanding of the state of our forests and the choices we make there. Only then can we have a broad and democratic debate about how we should coexist with forests in our day and age.

My hope is therefore that many people will read this book, and that when they’re finished reading, they’ll shut their eyes and think: “I feel such a profound love for the forest… but I’m also a tiny bit concerned.” That’s when I will have achieved what I want for this book.

Where and/or when do you work best?

My favorite writing place is located right next to Norway’s largest coniferous forest reserve. The majority of this book was written there, during intense periods when I completely immersed myself in the text. Sitting there and writing makes it easy to step out amongst ancient trees and dead logs teeming with life – and replenish my inspiration.

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

Read more about the author here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for the spring 2024 here