As a child growing up in the Fraser Valley, Al Carder was awed by the ancient Douglas fir forests and spent hours staring up at trees that commonly stood over 300 feet high. Sixty years later, after retiring from his career as a plant biologist, he set out to find the trees that had transfixed him in his youth. Discovering many of them felled by storms or loggers, he determined to document those that were left before they could vanish from our memories as well as from our landscapes. The catalogue Dr. Carder compiled is a definitive record of the West's record-sized trees of all species, including such legends as BC's 400-plus foot Lynn Valley fir and California's massive redwood, the Eureka Tree. Next, Dr. Carder set out to answer the question, how do the giant trees of the West stack up against the great trees of the world?
The result, Giant Trees of Western America and the World, reveals outstanding examples from each of the most noteworthy tree species Dr. Carder found--including some that are thousands of years old and over 300 feet high. Featuring more than 40 scale drawings, this collection of giant trees outlines the intriguing characteristics of each species, such as the resiliency of the English oak, which can endure lightning strikes and widespread rot for hundreds of years and still thrive; and the "grotesque" appearance of the African "upside-down tree," the baobab, whose width can exceed its height. Dr. Carder also describes the histories of famous trees, including the stump of a BC western red cedar so wide that eight men and women danced a quadrille on it in 1887, and the Sicilian Tree of 100 Horses, well-known for sheltering Joan, Queen of Aragon and 100 of her horsemen in a storm. Carder's enthusiasm and expertise informs and entertains even as he urges us to appreciate and protect what is left of these fascinating "monsters of the past."