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Bullard Spotlight: Peter Thomas on Applied Tree Biology

January 13, 2016
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Bullard Fellow Peter Thomas, a plant ecologist from Keele University in England, has spent his 6-month residency at the Forest co-writing a textbook, Applied Tree Biology, aimed at helping land managers make wise decisions about tree care. The book covers how trees should be chosen, planted, pruned, and maintained into old age, based on a sound understanding of how trees work.

He has also written two monographs that bring together all that is known about the biology and ecology of two European trees: the European ash (Fraxinus excelsior ), currently threatened with extinction from a 'dieback' fungus and the emerald ash borer; and the Wild service tree (Sorbus torminalis), now a rare tree, once known as having the world's most beautiful wood. These monographs are aimed at informing science and policy efforts to save these trees.

Thomas first came to the Forest 11 years ago: "The work I started here took me 10 years to finish, so it was time to return!" He says he chose Harvard Forest "firstly, because there is always someone here who can help answer the most difficult or obscure questions on tree biology." He adds, "Being here gives me access to the magnificent libraries here and in Cambridge - a resource unparalleled elsewhere. Finally, it gives me the time to read, think and write without interruption, a very rare luxury in academia." 

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