Inspired by decades of exploring the backcountry, Obi Kaufmann takes readers off the beaten path and their conceptions of California, by blending science with art.
Oakland, CA – From artist-naturalist Obi Kaufmann, the author of The California Field Atlas (#1 San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller) comes The Forests of California. The first book of a major new trilogy, the book features hundreds of Kaufmann’s signature watercolor maps, diagrams, and trail paintings, weaving them into a poetic and scientific exploration of the extraordinary beauty and biodiversity that defines the Golden State, threatened by climate crisis, wildfires, and extinction.
The Forests of California tells an epic story that spans millions of years, nearly one hundred species of trees, and an astonishing richness of ecosystems, to create nothing less than a new understanding of the more-than-human world. It’s also a story about the survival strategy of reinforcing connectivity, not only between habitat spaces, but between members of our own species. It invites readers to consider a larger context for the story of life itself—not only our place within it, but just like in any family, our responsibility to keep it together.
“California’s old-growth forests, some of the most complex and diverse ecosystems on the planet, resisted for millions of years the onslaughts of natural environmental disturbance and stress. After nearly two centuries of invasion by industrial humanity, with its ubiquitous litany of wounds grievously inflicted on the landscape, only bits of original forest remain. As long as they do, as long as we don’t see a cascading extinction event that leads to a system-wide collapse, as long as the pieces remain on the board, hope still lives. If hope still lives, my dream lives as well, and that is the most exciting thought I know.” – Obi Kaufmann, The Forests of California
The second and third book in the trilogy include The Coasts of California and The Deserts of California, which will follow in the spring and fall of 2021. The State of Fire, Understanding Why, Where and How California Burns, will be published by Heyday in 2022, as a bookend to the series.