Annular Compendium

A compendium of English language books on forests, trees wood and more. (Books featured are primarily UK publisher titles).

Literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of books on trees, forests, and the wood world have been published over the decades. This brief dip into a very few examples does not attempt to be comprehensive but rather serves as an introduction for those who want to dig further. The list is necessarily of books in the English language, and primarily from a British Isles perspective, though with a few from other parts thrown in for good measure.

There are several specialist on-line arboricultural, botanical and forestry book outlets, including the Arboricultural Association Bookshop, the Natural History Book Service (NHBS),TreeSource, and Summerfield Books.

This section overviews natural, environmental and landscape history related to woods and individual trees and is organised around the following categories:

Natural, environmental and landscape history

Two landmark texts are Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape by Oliver Rackham and The Making of the English Landscape by W. G. Hoskins. The former is considered one of the ur-texts of landscape and environmental history.

Trees and woodland in the British landscape. Rackham, Oliver. (2000) JM Dent and Sons, London. (first published in 1976).

The Making of the English Landscape. Hoskins, W. G. (2006) Hodder & Stoughton.

Further – recent natural history books on trees and woods

Sprout Lands: Tending the Endless Gift of Trees. Bryant Logan, William. (2019) W.W. Norton & Company Ltd.

The Glorious Life of the Oak. Lewis-Stempel, John. (2018) Doubleday.

The Song of Trees. Haskell, David George. (2017) Viking.

The Long, Long Life of Trees. Stafford, Fiona. (2017) Yale University Press.

Oak and Ash and Thorn: The Ancient Woods and New Forests of Britain. Fiennes, Peter. (2017) One World.

Trees, Woods and Forests: A Social and Cultural History. Watkins, Charles. (2016) Reaktion.

The Ash Tree. Rackham, Oliver. –(2016) Little Toller Books.

Shades of Green: An Environmental and Cultural History of Sitka Spruce. Tittensor, Ruth. (2016) Windgather Press/Oxbow.

Shades of Green is reviewed by Reforesting Scotland founder Bernard Planterose in Unstructured 9 here.

Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot. Crane, Peter. (2015) Yale University Press.

The New Sylva: A Discourse of Forest and Orchard Trees for the Twenty-First Century. Hemery, Gabriel. (2014) Bloomsbury.

The Forest Unseen. Haskell, David, George. (2013) Penguin.

The British Oak. Miles, Archie. (2013) Littlebrown.

Atlantic Hazel – Scotland’s Special Woodlands Coppins, Sarah and Brian. (2012) Atlantic Hazel Action Group.

Drizzle, Midges, (Misery) and Moss: Welcome to the Rain forests of Britain and Ireland. Averis, Ben. Self-published and illustrated. Pdf version accessible by clicking on title.

Old-Growth Forests: Function, Fate and Value. Edited by Wirth, Christian., Gleixner, Gerd., and Heimann, Martin. (2011) Springer.

Wildwood: A Journey through Trees. Deakin, Roger. (2008) Hamish Hamilton.

The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring. Preston, Richard. (2007) Penguin Random House.

The Golden Spruce. Vallaint, John. (2006) Penguin Random House.

The Secret Life of Trees. Tudge, Colin. (2006) Penguin. (Colin Tudge’s website is here.)

Oak – the Frame of Civilisation. Bryant Logan, William. (2005) W.W. Norton & Company Ltd.

The Life of an Oak: An Intimate Portrait. Keator, Glenn. (1998) Imago Publishing Ltd, Singapore. A pdf of the book is available here.

Landscape and Memory. Schama, Simon. (1995) Hodder & Stoughton.

Reaktion Books have been publishing their ongoing Botanical series of books on the cultural and natural histories of individual trees (as well as plants) including Bamboo by Susanne Lucas (2013), Birch by Anna Lewington (2018), Cherry by Constance Kirker and Mary Newman (to be published in 2021), Mulbery by Peter Coles (2019), Palm by Fred Gray (2018), Pine by Laura Mason (2013), Willow by Alison Syme (2014), and Yew by Fred Hageneder (2013).


A Tale of Trees: The Battle to Save Britain’s Ancient Woodland. Niemann, Derek. (2016) Short Books.

Global Deforestation. Runyon, Christianne and D’Odorico, Paolo. (2016) Cambridge University Press.

Forest Politics: The Evolution of International Cooperation, Humphreys, David. (2009) Routledge.

Logjam – Deforestation and the Crisis of Global Governance, Humphreys, David. (2008) Routledge.

Deforesting the Earth: From Prehistory to Global Crisis. Williams, Michael. (2006) University of Chicago Press.

Strangely like War. Jensen, Derrick and Draffan, George. (2004) Green Books.

The International Timber Trade, Peck, Tim. (2001) Woodhead Publishing.


Tree Roots and the Built Environment. Roberts, John., Jackson, Nick., and Smith, Mark. (2018). Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

The Body Language of Trees: Encyclopaedia of Visual Tree Assessment. Mattheck, Claus. (2015) Department of the Environment Research for Amenity Trees series.

The Practical Science of Planting Trees. Watson, G. and Himelick, E. (2013) International Society of Arboriculture.

The Principles of Tree Hazard Assessment and Management. Lonsdale, David. (2013) Forestry Commission.

Up by the Roots: Healthy Soils and Trees in the Built Environment. Urban, James. (2008) ISA.

Updated Field Guide for Visual Tree Assessment, Mattheck, Claus. (2007) ISA.

Urban Trees

London’s Street Trees: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest. Wood, Paul. (2020) Self-published, new revised edition.

London is a Forest – Wood, Paul. (2019) Self-published.

Forestry, sylviculture and forest ecology

The State of the UK’s Forests, Woods and Trees 2021The latest edition of the Woodland Trust’s report

Temperate and Boreal rainforests of the World: Ecology and Conservation. Della Salla, D.A. (2011) Island Press.

Ancient and other veteran trees. Edited by Lonsdale, David. (2013) The Tree Council. E-book pdf can be found here.

Forest Ecology: Recent Advances in Plant Ecologyvan der Valk, A. (2009) Springer.

A Critique of Silviculture: Managing for Complexity, Puettmann, K. J., Coates, K. D., and Messier, C. C. (2008) Island Press. A pdf of the book is available here.

Forest Ecology: A Foundation for Sustainable Forest Management and Environmental Ethics in Forestry Hardcover, Kimmins, J. P. (2004) Pearsons.

The Hidden Forest. Luoma, J. R. (1998) Oregon State University.

Mountain Forests in a Changing World  – the CMS contributed to this international project which was part of the International Year of Forests in 2011. The resulting report in pdf form is here.

Permaculture and agroforestry

Earth Care Manual: A Permaculture Handbook for Britain and other Temperate Climates. Whitefield, Patrick. (2011) Permanent Publications.

Temperate Agroforestry Systems. Edited by Gordon, A. M. and Newman, S. M. (2017) CAB Publications.

The Woodland Way: A Permaculture Approach to Sustainable Woodland Management. Law, Ben. (2013) Permanent Books.

Creating a Forest Garden:Working with Nature to Create Edible Crops. Crawford, Martin. (2010) Green Books.

The Woodland Year. Law, Ben. (2008) Permanent Press.

Forest Gardening: Rediscovering Nature and Community in a Post-Industrial Age. Hart, Robert. (1996) Green Books.

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture. Smith, John Russell. (1950) Island Press.

A Permaculture books top ten is here.

What looks like an impressively comprehensive selection of Agroforestry books, both professional and popular, can be found on the website here.

Architecture and engineering related books


Cross Laminated Timber – A Design Stage Primer. Crawley, Nic. (2021) RIBA Books.

Building with Hardwood: Innovation through an almost forgotten building material. Merz, K. Niemann, A. and Torno, S. (2021) Detail Practice

Rethinking Wood: Future Dimensions of Timber Assembly. Hudert, M. Pfeiffer, S. (2019) Birkhauser

Timber Structures in Vorarlberg: Architecture, Craftsmanship, Environment. Aicher, F. and Breusser, R (2019) Detail Editions.

Manual of Multi-Storey Timber Construction. Kaufmann, H. Krotsch, S. and Winter, S. (2018) Edition Detail

The Case for Tall Wood Buildings. Green, Michael. (2018) Blurb. The Vancouver architect studio has set up its website including a link to a pdf of the book & also here.

100 UK CLT Projects. (2018) Waugh Thistleton Architects. Pdf available here.

The Modern Timber House in the UK. Wilson, Peter. (2017). Arca Media.

Advancing Wood Architecture: A computational approach. Menges, A. Schwinn, T. Krieg, O, D. (2016)  Routledge

Turning Point in Timber Construction: A New Economy. Dangel, Ulrich. (2016) De Gruyter.

Sustainable Timber Design. Dickson, Michael, and Parker, Dave. (2015) Routledge.

Solid Wood: Case Studies in Mass Timber Architecture, Technology and Design. Mayo, Joseph. (2015) Routledge.

Detail in Contemporary Timber Architecture. McLeod, Virginia. (2015) Laurence King.

Emergent Timber Technologies: Materials, Structures, Engineering, Projects. Jeska, Simone and Pascha, Khaled Saleh. (2014) De Gruyter.

Timber Frame Construction 5th Edition, Lancashire, Robin, and Taylor, Lewis. (2011). TRADA Technology Ltd.

Timber Construction Manual. Edited by Herzog, T., Natterer, N., Schweitzer, R., Volz, M. and Winter, S. (2004) De Gruyter

Laminated Timber Construction (Holzleimbau). Muller,Christian. (2000). Birkhauser.

Architecture in Wood: A World History. Pryce, Will. (1995). Thames & Hudson.

Timber engineering and materials science

Sustainable Construction Timber: Sourcing and Specifying local timber. Davies, Ivor. (2016) Arca Media.

Wood Composites. Edited by Ansell, Martin. (2015). Woodhead Elsevier.

Failure analysis of wood and wood-based products. Lukowsky, Dirk. (2015) McGraw-Hill Education.

Wood in Construction: how to avoid costly mistakes. Coulson, Jim. (2012) Wiley-Blackwell.

Timber: its Nature and Behaviour. Dinwoodie, J. M. (2000). CRC Press. A pdf can be downloaded here.

Making the Grade – A guide to appearance grading UK grown hardwood timber. Davies, Ivor. (2009). Arca Media. Pdf also available here.

Wood Modification: Chemical, Thermal and Other Processes. Hill, Callum, A. S. (2006) Wiley.

Timber Designers’ Manual. Ozelton, E,C. and Baird, J, A. (2002). Wiley-Blackwell.

Acoustics of wood. Bucur, V. (2006). Springer.

Timber Engineering STEP Volume 1 and 2. (1995) Centrum Hout. Volume 1 available as pdf from TRADA link here. Quite a few of these engineering books are taken from The Wood Technology Society’slong list of recommendations.

Books on vernacular and traditional building culture

Discovering timber frames buildings. Harris, Richard. (1993) Bloomsbury.

Timber Building in Britain. Brunskill, R. W. (1985) Yale.

Traditional Buildings of Britain- An Introduction to Vernacular Architecture. Brunskill, R. W. (2006) Yale University Press.

The Illustrated handbook of Vernacular ArchitectureBrunskill, R. W. (1970) Faber.

Silent Spaces: The last of the great aisled barns silent spaces. Kirk, Malcolm. (1994) Thames & Hudson Press.

Cruck Building: A Survey. Edited by Alcock, N., Barnwel, P. and Cherry, M. (2019) Shaun Tyas Publications A booklist maintained by the Vernacular Architecture Group can be found here.

Timber frame and self-build and tiny houses

Oak Framed Buildings revised edition (2019) Newman, Rupert. Self-published by Westwind Timber Frame Company.

Timber for Building: Turning Trees into Homes. Reynolds, Andy. (2014). Low Impact Living.

Be in a Treehouse: Design/Construction/Inspiration. Nelson, Pete. (2014). Mumble Press.

Roundwood Timber Framing: Building Naturally Using Local Resources. Law, Ben. (2010) Permanent Press.

The Woodland House. Law, Ben. (2010) Permanent Press.

The Small House Book. Shafer, Jay. (2009) Tumbleweed Tiny House. A pdf of the book is available here.

The Green Self Build Book. Broome, Jon. (2007) Green Books.

The Whole House Book – ecological building design and materials. Harris, Cindy, and Borer, Pat. (2005) Centre for Alternative Technology Publications.

Monte Burch’s Pole Building Projects. Burche, Monte. (1993) Workman Press. Other Monte Burch self-build books here.

The Timber-Frame: Design, Construction, Finishing. Benson, Tedd. (1991) Taunton.

Timber Frame Construction – All About Post and Beam Building. Sobon, Jack, and Schroeder, Roger. (1984) Storey Publishing (USA).

Annular Accomodates